Cook wants Pompey to feel at home

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey must address the home form that is hampering their promotion bid.

That is boss Paul Cook’s new year’s resolution ahead of today’s crunch League Two clash with Luton Town at Fratton Park (3pm).

The fourth-placed Blues welcome the Hatters, who sit directly below them in the table, to the south coast eager to improve on a disappointing run of results on home soil – and narrow a seven-point gap to the top three.

Pompey have won just once from their past five Fratton league outings, with three defeats arriving in that period.

It has been a different story on the road, though, with the Blues’ foggy Friday night stalemate at Yeovil extending a three-month unbeaten run on their travels, spanning eight games.

And now just past the halfway point in the season, Cook is in no doubt as to where his side need to improve if they are to achieve their ultimate goal of promotion in 2017.

He said: ‘I think we are in a good position.

‘We have 13 games to play at home and 10 away.

‘We all know we need to do better at home.

‘That 12th man at home is important and we need to find a way to make them (the fans) happy at home.

‘Away from home we are doing okay, we are on an unbeaten run.

‘It doesn’t matter where we pick the points up to be promoted – the biggest target is to be promoted.

‘We know it is what the fans really want here.

‘But the reality is we have to get a lot of points to deliver that for them.

‘All I will say is we will do everything we can to do so.’

Pompey can make the perfect start to the new year with a win over Luton.

The Blues earned an impressive 3-1 victory at the Hatters in November, coming from behind to defeat Nathan Jones’ men at Kenilworth Road.

But Cook is under no illusions as to the challenge presented by the visitors, who boast the meanest defence in the division.

Assistant manager Leam Richardson saw Luton convincingly beat Barnet 3-1 on Saturday to close the gap on Pompey to a point.

And Cook has revealed he will tinker again with his line-up for today’s ‘smashing’ encounter, which has attracted a sell-out crowd.

He added: ‘It’s a great game for League Two between two great clubs.

‘We are both disappointed to be in the division we are in but Fratton Park will be rocking.

‘It is sold out and with the atmosphere we are going to create, it will be a smashing game.

‘I would imagine Nathan will make changes for them and we are certainly going to look at freshening our team up.

‘We want to win to put pressure on the teams above us and our lads have prepared properly for it.’