Cambridge Utd v Pompey: Paul Cook calls for bravery

Dion Donohue. Picture: Colin Farmery

New boy’s bitter-sweet Pompey experience

  • Pompey have taken 11 points from a possible 15 away from home
  • Cambridge United have won one of their last nine matches
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Paul Cook has called for bravery as Pompey strive to prise open those locked League Two defences.

And the defiant Blues boss insisted his team will not ditch their ‘positive’ football.

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey head to Cambridge United tomorrow as their league programme moves away from Fratton Park.

Home turf has proven frustrating during the past two matches – with Cook’s men struggling to break down the resilience of Exeter City and then Yeovil Town.

In turn, a small minority of the Fratton faithful responded by booing at the final whistle on Saturday.

Now the Blues head to the Abbey Stadium – and Cook wants his side to demonstrate more courage on the ball.

The good thing about being promoted with Chesterfield is we went through the exact same thing

Paul Cook

He said: ‘The easiest thing in football, believe it or not, is to be negative. “Get behind the ball everyone! Don’t break forward!”.

‘The hardest is to be positive. We go to Cambridge tomorrow to win the game and will be as positive as we can.

‘Will we win? I don’t know. Will we have more play, more shots on goal and get more men forward? Yes. And our supporters travel in that knowledge.

‘Unfortunately for us, the hardest part of it is having the players to break it down.

‘Having those players to do that is the key – and if you look we definitely have the players to do it.

‘Are they doing it at the minute? No. Will they do it? Yes, right they will.

‘My experience tells me that is how teams are going to stop us and we need more moments of magic from our flair players.

‘We need to be braver with what we do, we need to put more balls forward quicker, we need to make more mistakes in the game.

‘It’s about bravery. If you look at Adam Barton, he is so safe in his passing it is untrue. We don’t need safety at home. It’s logic.

‘In my opinion, in football there is too much negativity in general.

‘We have played 11 games and lost one, just move on.

‘There is a belief at our club of how big we are, this big vehicle in a league we shouldn’t be in and we’ve got no right to draw with teams at home.

‘That’s the reality of where we are at. Come the end of the season, where do we want to be? Hopefully promoted. The challenge is not today, it’s tomorrow. Learn from it.’

Pompey lie fourth after 11 matches as their bright start to the campaign continues.

And Cook raised a smile while drawing comparisons with winning League Two with Chesterfield in 2013-14.

He added: ‘The good thing about being promoted with Chesterfield is we went through the exact same thing.

‘We lost after 10 games at home to Mansfield in a big derby match.

‘We were told “you have got to get more men in the box”.

‘Then there was “you’ve got to sign a big man to score goals”. We won the league.’