Waddock: We must repeat Luton steel

Recalled Pompey midfielder Johnny Ertl led the way at Luton Picture: Joe Pepler
Recalled Pompey midfielder Johnny Ertl led the way at Luton Picture: Joe Pepler

There were guts, there was steel – and it earned Pompey an unlikely Kenilworth Road point.

Now Gary Waddock has called on the Blues for a repeat of their impressive Luton commitment as they head into a tough Newport County fixture.

It has been 11 days since Andy Awford’s side collected a point at the promotion-chasing Hatters.

Driven on by the recalled Johnny Ertl, they prevented John Still’s side recording a ninth successive home victory by securing a well-deserved point.

Finally Pompey are back in action tomorrow with a visit to Newport – the setting for Awford’s first win during his successful second spell as caretaker boss.

And assistant manager Waddock is demanding those Luton standards are maintained in a season of inconsistency.

He said: ‘Luton was encouraging, especially when we were a goal down. It showed a lot of character from the players, a lot of team spirit, all the words that managers and coaches would use.

‘I thought our general play was good as well. The first half we played well and showed different aspects of the game, passing the ball reasonably well, putting one or two good moves together, and then second half had to dig in and defend well.

‘You have to do that at this level and if you can dig in and be consistent over a period of time things will certainly change in terms of points tally.

‘That Luton performance was a reaction from the home game (AFC Wimbledon), but we need that reaction every match day, both home and away. We need that type of gutsy, steely performance because we have to work.

‘In the dressing room the players were very pleased with how the game went, they were totally committed, and even going a goal down didn’t allow their heads to drop.

‘You look at the next batch of fixtures, they are very difficult – starting with Newport – and we have to go there and again be gutsy, steely, and committed to get anything from the game.

‘If we don’t do that it’s going to be a very difficult afternoon for us. But we have put down a marker in terms of what is required from the players.

‘They know once they cross that white line they have to produce and perform. If they perform they have a better chance of getting a result, if they don’t perform who knows what the result is going to be.

‘We showed it more so in the Luton game than the visit to Cheltenham, even though against Cheltenham we worked very, very hard.

‘And if we show that same level of performance tomorrow against Newport, it gives us a chance and that is all we are asking. At least it gives us an opportunity to get something.’

Waddock is approaching a month in the job, having joined Awford’s backroom to provide coaching experience.

And the former Wycombe boss has nothing but praise for the attitude of the Blues’ players since his arrival.

‘In fairness to the players, I can only talk about the period of time I have been here,’ added Waddock.

‘The players have shown a fantastic attitude on the training ground and now that has shown in the away performances, that’s for sure.

‘And we have to make sure we do it in front of our home fans as well.’