Boss praises ‘terrific’ Pompey attitude

Ben Close rises to the physical Thurrock challenge. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Close rises to the physical Thurrock challenge. Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford has praised Pompey’s attitude following another comfortable win over non-league opposition.

Craig Westcarr’s first-half double settled the contest which again could have yielded more goals for the hosts.

As in previous victories over the Hawks and Bognor, the Blues controlled the encounter and caused plenty of problems with their attacking play.

Results against such opponents during pre-season are to be expected.

But Awford is delighted at the way his side have knuckled down to show their professionalism, netting 12 goals and conceding just one during those encounters.

He said: ‘The biggest thing I have asked in the pre-season games so far is that the attitude is right.

‘I want to make sure they approach it properly.

‘It’s easy to go out there and showboat because you are playing against non-league opposition.

‘I won’t have that and they have been excellent in their attitude and application. I have been really pleased.

‘I thought the first five minutes against Thurrock, we started really well.

‘There might have been a little spell for 10 minutes when we didn’t quite get going and were not quite as accurate as we wanted with the passes.

‘But they still kept working hard, which is the main objective in pre-season.

‘We have to get miles into people’s legs, they have got to be up for it and ready to go mentally and physically on August 9 – and they will be.

‘The whole group has been terrific and what I like about it is I don’t have to say too much.

‘If somebody is not doing it then they tell each other, which is right. It is how it should be.

‘They are a good group, they really are, the attitude is really good. I don’t have to say too much in terms of getting their attitude right.’

Meanwhile, Awford was pleased with how his side stood up to the more physical nature of the opposition.

The hosts put in plenty of robust challenges and offered a different approach to the Hawks and Bognor in the other pre-season fixtures.

Awford added: ‘It was physical last night, no mistake.

‘Bognor are such a footballing side, while Havant was a very early game for them because Lee (Bradbury) is still trying to get a squad together.

‘Thurrock have been together a little while, Mark (Stimson) has had most of them gelling for a few years now so they know each other.

‘It was a more competitive game, which is what I wanted and I think Saturday (Ebbsfleet) will be the same.

‘We are going to need that. That is the way it is in our league – as we saw last season.

‘It was an eye-opener for us all from that point of view, so it was important we got a game in terms of the physical contest as well.

‘And we stood up to it very well.’