Cook: Changing Pompey’s formation will hurt us

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey's Brett Pitman scores a penalty in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

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Paul Cook believes changing formation will only hinder Pompey’s progress.

And the Blues boss underlined a conviction his side’s tumultuous form has nothing to do with the way they are set up.

Cook has referenced Pompey’s inconsistency as their consistency this season with continual highs and lows.

He reaffirmed his view the kind of backing given to his team in recent games will get them to where they need to be.

And the Pompey boss remains determined to employ his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation on the way to doing that.

Two goals have arrived in the past three games for Cook’s side.

But they smashed in eight in the three fixtures before that with broadly the same formation used in every game.

Plenty of fans are determined to see two strikers used at home from the outset.

But Cook can only see such changes having a negative impact on his side.

He said: ‘We’re in December. If people want to debate formations they can.

‘People have seen us play like a good team and people have seen us play like a poor team – all with the same formation.

‘Changes in formations just lead to worse results. It’s mixed messages to players.’

The aim for Pompey is to now bridge the seven-point gap which has opened up between them and the top three.

Saturday saw a crowd of 17,081 turn out at Fratton Park with just 132 Hartlepool followers making the long trip south.

The home fans stayed with their team throughout, despite them being frustrated by their opponents.

At the end of the afternoon the Fratton faithful saw the gap to the top three stretched to seven points.

Cook explained he is going to avoid offering up any public criticism to his players as he looks to maintain unity.

He is confident that will be rewarded by closing in on their rivals over the second half of the campaign.

Cook said: ‘Here we go again!

‘That’s the game isn’t it. The reality is no-one knows what will happen.

‘There’s such a long way to go and so many points to play for.

‘Everyone being together will get you there a lot quicker.

‘I’m not slagging players off. My job is to work with them to make them better.

‘That’s what my job is.

‘In general, I’ll speak to people about the facts.

‘The facts are we’re fourth and we desperately want to be in the top three for our supporters.

‘There’s a way to go about it and there’s a way not to.

‘If I was a supporter, I’d get behind my team. Any fan who doesn’t want to they’re entitled to. Good luck.

‘We’re not where people want us to be.

‘Until we’re there, people will not be satisfied. Let’s get on with it.’

– JORDAN CROSS