Cook’s praise for Pompey keeper

Pompey keeper David Forde Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey keeper David Forde Picture: Joe Pepler

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PAUL COOK backed David Forde’s hunger to succeed at Pompey.

And the Blues boss has promised he will continue to resist calls for change as his side go to Yeovil tonight.

Forde goes looking for his 10th clean sheet in his team’s final game of 2016 at Huish Park.

Cook’s side will be aiming to extend an unbeaten away record spanning seven games and three months.

Pompey are looking to turn up the heat on the top three, who all play their League Two fixtures tomorrow.

Forde will be expected to make the 24th appearance of a tumultuous season-long loan from League One Millwall.

The 37-year-old has faced criticism in that time, and saw Newport County score their second goal on Boxing Day after he parried a Josh Sheehan shot into the path of Rhys Healey.

But Cook has no doubts over the Republic of Ireland international.

He said: ‘I’m delighted with Fordey. Absolutely delighted.

‘He’s a great character. He’s a man who talks to the players and is a great influence around them.

‘Fordey is a good presence on the pitch. He’s kept nine clean sheets.

‘He’s a gentle giant, Fordey, but he still wants to win and is desperate for success.

‘It’s nice to go into work and have something to play for. We want to be promoted so everyone is concentrating on that.

‘Keepers get criticised. Fordey would be the first to admit he should have done better (with the second goal against Newport), but we back our players.’

The goalkeeping position is one of the areas where some sections of support have called for change.

Cook feels there has already been too much of that at the Blues in recent seasons.

The 49-year-old will look to be active in the transfer mark next month. But he stressed he will be looking to utilise the men not currently seeing significant playing time.

Milan Lalkovic is among those players, while Gary Roberts and Kyle Bennett were not in the starting XI last time out.

Cook said: ‘We can’t have a bad result and want to change players all the time.

‘We will always be looking to strengthen. We’re always looking but we’re dead happy with the group.

‘We’re in the market to make this team better. That’s what big clubs do.

‘But we’re pleased with the likes of Noel Hunt, Kal Naismith and all these lads who’ve come in.

‘I still believe Lalkovic has a big part to play. If you look at the players out of the team at Newport there’s Bennett, Lalkovic and Roberts. They’d get in most teams, but we scored three goals.

‘They are top players. Mark my words they are top players at this level and the level above.

‘Come the end of the season, these lads will hopefully have played a big part in a successful season.’

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