Cook weighs up Pompey system change

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler

Loyalty set to be Cook’s Pompey policy in League One

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Paul Cook branded his Newport County game plan a ‘one-off’.

And he is weighing up whether to once again implement a system change for tomorrow night’s trip to Yeovil.

We are doing okay and our lads are all comfortable with how we play and what we do. We will now tinker in certain matches with certain formations to try to win the game

Paul Cook

Pompey’s boss ditched his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation and operated with a more direct approach to combat Graham Westley’s side.

The outcome was a 3-2 victory as his gutsy team produced a remarkable comeback, having fallen two goals behind.

Certainly, many supporters were pleased to see the Blues operate with a traditional 4-4-2 system, allowing Noel Hunt to partner Michael Smith in attack.

Cook, though, has vowed to assess his playing system on a game-by-game basis.

And he is mulling over the tactical methods required to successfully conquer 13th-placed Yeovil tomorrow night (7.45pm).

Pompey’s boss said: ‘If I think it is right, I will always change formations.

‘I am not as pig-headed as people think, I don’t go away saying “I am not doing that” or “I never will”.

‘On pitches like the one we had on Boxing Day, there is no such thing as systems and formations.

‘Drive into Newport, win a football game, get three points and leave. It is nothing to do with players, personnel, who does well, who doesn’t.

‘The first four balls Enda Stevens struck went behind the stand!

‘It was just a one-off game, a bit more thought will go into tonight’s match from us.

‘We are doing okay and our lads are all comfortable with how we play and what we do. We will now tinker in certain matches with certain formations to try to win the game.

‘We can do this now because of the quality of pitches at this time of year. Also, it is about how the opposition interpret how we will play.

‘We won’t change it every game, it is about when we feel it is right.’

Yeovil boss Darren Way favours a 4-3-3 line-up, a system which recently earned them a two-month unbeaten league record.

He is expected to retain that approach for the Blues’ second visit to Huish Park, following August’s Checkatrade Trophy encounter.

Intriguingly, Newport’s Westley opted to change his usual 4-4-2 formation on Boxing Day.

Instead, League Two’s bottom club lined up with three central defenders in Abdoulaye Meite, Scot Bennett and Darren Jones.

But Cook is wary about asking players to constantly adapt to different systems.

He added: ‘The biggest thing about systems is personnel in them. Whatever formation you play, you need to be good at it.

‘You can change to a 4-4-2 and get the ball forward to the front two quicker, but certain players might not play in that system.

‘We are not going to start chopping and changing players in teams every week.

‘We will now tinker with it in relation to trying to win the game.’

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