PLAY UP POMPEY
Double success at Fratton as Andy Awford and Jed Wallace take awards
PORTSMOUTH’S sevengame unbeaten run may have come to an abrupt end in their first game of March in midweek, but the League Two big guns were still celebrating double success in the Sky Bet award stakes.
Fratton Park boss Andy Awford took the managerial accolade after leading his side to six of those seven games without defeat in February, the first of the run coming on the last day of January.
And ace midfielder Jed Wallace scooped the player award for some stellar performances in behind the front two during a month in which he scored twice, including one at Cambridge United when he also set up four more in a 6-2 win for Portsmouth.
Awford was delighted for his starlet, 20, who was described as “Championship quality” by Northampton boss Chris Wilder after the Cobblers ended Pompey’s run.
“Jed had a fantastic month in February and has played an important role for the team in us getting a decent return of points,” said Awford.
“His goals, assists and overall contribution have been consistent and the challenge for him and the team now is to be just as consistent throughout the remainder of the season.”
Awford, meanwhile, played down any talk of his side gatecrashing the promotion party after the run of 14 points from 18 in February took them from the brink of a battle against relegation to the fringes of the playoffs.
“We haven’t even spoken about the playoffs,” said the 42-year-old. “It’s not something I’ve ever discussed with anybody. All I’ve got a target of is to get as high up the league as we can.”
The ex-Pompey defender was more happy to discuss midfielder Wes Fogden’s return to action after seven months out with a knee injury.
The 26-year-old former Bournemouth, Dorchester and Havant & Waterlooville man came on as a 78th-minute sub at Sixfields.
“Wes is always going to give you energy and that spirit in the middle of the park,” said Awford. “We missed him and it’s great to have him back.”
CLASSY: Pompey midfielder Jed Wallace in action and, inset, alongside boss Andy Awford with their prizes