Cook will ‘weed out’ Pompey players he can’t trust

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 has spoken of the trust he’s looking to build with Pompey’s squad.

The Blues boss has admitted he feels there are players at Fratton Park thinking about themselves over the team.

And he promised to ‘weed out’ those he feels fall into that bracket.

Cook explained he’s looking to build a similar understanding with his players to the one he had at Chesterfield.

He feels replicating the bond built over time with a successful squad can prove a tricky test.

And that’s why managers often return to their former clubs for reinforcements.

That has most notably been the case with Cook bringing Gary Roberts to Pompey from the Proact Stadium.

The 49-year-old is also currently chasing Spireites attacking midfielder Jay O’Shea.

Cook said: ‘That’s why managers go back to their previous clubs a lot. Why? Because they trust them.

‘By the time I left Chesterfield I trusted every single one of those lads.

‘But we got beat four by Preston in the play-offs. No problem with that, there were no issues.

‘Because over a period of time at a club in each window you find out more about your players.

‘That’s what we are going through here now. I think our supporters can relax in the knowledge that one day under my tenure we’ll get to that point when I say “I trust all of the players now”.

‘I would imagine by that day we’ll be in a good place. If not, you’ve done your best.’

Cook spent over two-and-a-half years with Chesterfield.

During that time he guided them to the League Two title and a place in the League One play-offs the following season.

He felt putting everything in place to enjoy success at the Proact Stadium was an evolving process.

The manager admitted he hasn’t succeeded in doing that so far at Pompey, and there have been mistakes along the way with signings.

But he’s now focused on getting out the players with question marks over their character and replacing them with people he has faith in.

‘This is what you are trying to create as a group of players,’ added Cook.

‘When I left Chesterfield we went out and had a last night out with the players.

‘I went home with the missus early and we were just saying how hard it is to leave something like that.

‘You think you can create it again, but it’s not as easy as people think.

‘At Chesterfield it took me two-and-a-half years to get everything right – where you have a smaller group, but they give everything for each other.

‘Now, as we’ve put that together here, it’s not a case of you’ve got everything right.

‘There are still characters in that dressing room more interested in themselves than the team.

‘My job is to weed them out. And I’ll get them.’

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