Cook targets ‘physical’ keeper

Pompey manager Paul Cook   Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey manager Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett is unapologetic for the raft of changes he's made at Pompey. Pic: Joe Pepler

Form shows where Pompey’s season of change is going

  • Pompey used five keepers in League Two last season
  • Paul Jones and Alex Bass are continuing their rehabilitation from injury
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Paul Cook is focused on recruiting a ‘physical’ keeper as the next piece in his first-team jigsaw.

The Blues have this summer added Michael Smith, Carl Baker, Drew Talbot, Danny Rose and Matt Clarke to their squad.

We want a physically big keeper, our main problems came from crosses and players in general in the box

Paul Cook

Winger Milan Lalkovic is also on his way to Fratton Park.

The issue of goalkeeper, however, has still to be resolved.

Brian Murphy has been released, while Paul Jones and Alex Bass remain sidelined through injury.

With five keepers used in Pompey’s first-team last term, Cook is aware a regular number one must be identified.

And he wants a player primarily able to deal with crosses and balls into the box.

He said: ‘If you look at goalkeepers available or not available, the big problem is they all make mistakes, that is the reality of the game.

‘We have seen it at the European Championship, even with Joe Hart.

‘But we want to get continuity there, having five different goalkeepers in a season was not a help to our back four. You are not building a relationship with them.

‘Obviously we are in the market to solve that problem sooner rather than later and continue to look.

‘We want a physically big keeper, our main problems came from crosses and players in general in the box.

‘Our fans will agree that we struggled at times from set-pieces.

‘If goalkeepers have certain qualities and certain deficiencies, then the attributes of the one we want is to be physically big and able to deal well with crosses and balls into the box.

‘However, I am not so sure we will get someone so agile.

‘We are trying to solve that problem, although I don’t think it is as easy as some people think.

‘We are trying our best. The fans have got to be safe in the knowledge we are trying our best.’

Murphy, Jones, Aaron McCarey, Ryan Fulton and Ryan Allsop all appeared in goal for the Blues last season.

Regardless, they had the joint-third best defensive record in League Two.

In the meantime, Pompey return to training on Tuesday with their goalkeeping resources continuing to be depleted.

Jones (thigh) and Bass (knee) are still on the comeback trail having been absent from last term’s play-off finale.

And Cook is uncertain either is ready to feature.

He added: ‘Both are now coming back from their injuries.

‘They are in the latter stages of their rehabilitation, but obviously the fact they have been out for a long time is a little bit of a concern.

‘We need to see those lads back on the grass and also training well.

‘How that develops might lead to us needing more than one keeper.’