Awford fires Pompey cup vow

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Andy Awford dismissed fixture congestion fears and promised: We’re up for the cup.

The Pompey boss promised his players will be going all out to improve dreadful knockout form since reaching the FA Cup final in 2010 tonight.

Pompey boss Andy Awford Picture: Barry Zee

Pompey boss Andy Awford Picture: Barry Zee

The Blues face Peterborough in the Capital One Cup tonight, as they go looking for their first win in the competition in four years.

A couple of wins in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last season is a good as it has got since then in all cup games.

Awford is keen to arrest that form, though, and generate some excitement for supporters along the way.

A win over the Posh would create another game in an already congested opening to the season for Pompey.

That would make it nine games in the opening 30 days of the campaign, with midweek games across each of the first four weeks.

Awford isn’t worried about the strain that would put on his squad, however, and pinpointed Bradford’s run to the final last year as evidence it can be handled.

‘It’s exciting if you can get on a cup run. I’m all for it,’ said Awford.

‘Okay, it gives you extra games but that is what a squad is for.

‘We have strength in depth, so I would welcome a cup run.

‘When was the last time we had one?

‘We haven’t had a run for four years, so it’s about time we had one.

‘I’d welcome it. I think it can give a spark, so I wouldn’t say no to it.

‘The league is the main focus. Any manager in the country would say that.

‘If you’re asking if we’d rather have a cup run or promotion it will always be promotion.

‘But why can’t we have a cup run like Bradford did?

‘I’m not saying we are going to go all the way to the final, that would be amazing.

‘But it’s been proven it can be done and you can have a successful season along the way.

‘Why can’t you have a cup run? I don’t see why you can’t.

‘If you had to give it up for promotion you would do.

‘I’d be upset if we go out, of course I would. It’s an opportunity to get through.

‘But it will be hard game against a very good side.’

Awford knows a cup run would deliver a financial fillip for his side. But it’s the carrot of snaring a Premier League side by defeating Peterborough which has him up for tonight’s game.

He said: ‘It gives us a financial benefit. Every game you win gives another game and opportunity to raise funds. That’s important.

‘As a football club, it creates revenue for us as well, so we’ll be looking for the win.

‘Games under the lights at Fratton are special.

‘Even in an away game it gives it that extra bit.

‘If we got a big team away in the cup we’d always take a big following with us, too, so it’d be great to get through.’