Portsmouth: Andy Awford targets Championship

New Portsmouth manager Andy Awford says a return to the Championship is a realistic target under his tenure.

Awford was appointed permanent boss on Thursday after an impressive spell as caretaker in which he won five of six games in League Two and drew the other.

The club has suffered three relegations in the past four seasons.

"There is no reason why this club cannot go into the Championship soon," Awford told BBC South Today. "That's a realistic target, I really think so."

However, Awford, who was named League Two manager of the month on Friday, says success will not be achieved by putting the club at financial risk and warns it will take time to achieve those targets.

"The club needs to be back in the Championship within x amount of years," he said.

Correspondent analysis

"After the Pompey board failed to get it right with the appointment of Richie Barker, this decision has been made easy by Andy Awford's success. He's shown in two caretaker spells that he can have an impact on the team.

"Pompey supporters will be delighted to have one of their own in charge, especially at a time when the Supporters' Trust are at the helm. Awford is a one-club man, whose passion for Pompey is evident and obvious. The only reservation supporters have is that, like Guy Whittingham before him, a parting of ways down the road could lead to another club man being on the outside."

"Whether that takes five, 10 or 15 years I do not know. We've got to be very careful we do not get ahead of ourselves. The club needs to get back to the Championship and then it is a massive step, as we all know, to the Premier League."

The club were in administration twice in three years before being taken over by the Pompey Supporters' Trust.

The PST have stabilised the club off the field and Awford admitted finance is a constant concern for him.

"Let's make sure we've got a football club first because let's not forget how close we were to there not being one," he said.

"The board will continue to ensure that stays the case. I will continue to ensure that we get the right people in the right areas so the football club can grow as one.

"It's a case of building, brick-by-brick, day-by-day. Let's build a club everyone is proud of."

Awford admitted his appointment was a "dream" for him having arrived at the club at the age of 14.

He is yet to appoint his backroom staff and will also be heavily involved in recruiting his replacement as academy manager.

He says his attention has already turned to next season and he hopes Portsmouth will be able to match their success off the pitch with glory on it.

"We have a competitive budget for next season," Awford revealed.

"Off the pitch we have had a great year and the board have done a fantastic job in getting the club stable. On the pitch we've had a good finish to the season and could have a top-10 finish. That is very impressive.

"Let's get Saturday out of the way and then, after that, I will talk to players about contracts."