Taylor: We’re fully behind the Pompey boss

Ryan Taylor celebrates his goal at Luton. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ryan Taylor celebrates his goal at Luton. Picture: Joe Pepler

Ryan Taylor insists the display at Luton proves the players are still fully behind Blues boss Andy Awford.

Amid a run of just one win in their past nine games, the manager’s position has come under scrutiny of late with some disgruntled fans calling for his sacking.

But many still believe Awford should be given time and backing to put things right.

With Pompey ending 2014 in 15th place in League Two and nine points adrift of the final play-off place, few would argue that it represents a disappointing first half of the campaign.

But if anyone was looking for signs the players had lost faith or stopped playing for the manager, the battling performance at Luton must have provided some strong answers.

Taylor said: ‘I’m not aware of any speculation about the manager but I don’t look on social media.

‘We all knew the supporters weren’t happy with us on Boxing Day for the performance against AFC Wimbledon but neither were we.

‘These days, managers are under so much pressure and don’t get the time they need.

‘A few bad results go against them and everyone is looking at them straight away.

‘We are definitely playing for him. I think that performance at Luton shows that we are still playing for him.

‘We are giving everything.

‘The manager has been brilliant with us and we will continue to work as hard as we can for him and the club.

‘Sometimes one result like that can change things around.

‘We got off to a bad start when we conceded the goal and a few heads could have dropped after what happened on Boxing Day. But I don’t think we saw that at all.’

Taylor accepts the team should be challenging higher up the table and is clearly not among those attempting to downplay the ambition this season.

And he also believes Pompey have shown they have the stomach for a fight – after recent accusations they are too fragile when things go against them.

He said: ‘As a team, we should be doing better. I think we all know that.

‘We really needed to show some character at Luton. But I think we showed with that performance that we can dig in and produce results like that.

‘People might question whether we have the character but the only way we can change that opinion is through results and performances.’

And the striker – who himself believes he has not reached the standards he should have so far this term – is prepared for a fortnight of intensive work on the training ground, with Awford keen to get his players in the best possible condition ahead of a crucial run of tough fixtures.

Taylor said: ‘For me personally, it has not been good enough this season.

‘But I will continue to work hard. The manager has said we will be working hard over the next couple of weeks and we’re looking forward to it. It will be like a mini pre-season for us.

‘But the key thing is we have to take this into the next game and hit the same standards.

‘The manager told us that level of performance needs to be the benchmark.

‘I think the fans appreciated it as well.

‘They gave us a good reception at the end and it’s nice to give them a result after what happened on Boxing Day.’