ADAM McGURK has been told his chance will come to impact Pompey’s season.
And the Blues forward has been challenged to make a difference when his opportunity arrives.
McGurk got 64 minutes under his belt as he appeared for the reserves today in the 3-2 win over Crawley.
The Irishman has been available for selection after recovering from a back injury picked up against Barnet last month.
But he’s had to sit it out before being named as an unused sub against Newport County on Saturday.
A chance could now arrive for the 27-year-old as Gary Roberts serves a ban at Mansfield for his weekend red card.
Cook is aware the Irishman has had to be patient, and has faith in him to make the most of the playing time when it arrives.
Cook said: ‘Adam’s back to fitness.
‘He hasn’t had that run yet. That’s tough on him because he’s a smashing player.
‘He needs that run of consecutive games to hopefully pick that up.
‘Hopefully, between now and the end of the season, he’ll get that chance to show how good he is.
‘Again, he’s a massive part of the squad. If these people get called into the team I wouldn’t blink.
‘He was left out through selection in the past few games, but the competition for places is there.
‘That’s the reality. I can’t keep everyone happy. It’s important when players get the chance they take it.
‘Adam struggled with injury. His last game was Barnet away and then he wasn’t fit for Cambridge at home.
‘That’s been a problem. It’s been one in and one out, and that’s not a criticism of Adam in any shape or form.’
Cook saw the likes of Ben Tollitt, Kal Naismith, Matt Clarke, Adam Barton and Conor Chaplin join McGurk in getting minutes on the pitch against Crawley.
They’ve all found playing time hard to come by in the first team recently.
That’s something Cook is conscious of, with the Pompey boss keen to manage his options.
Cook said: ‘The balance of the squad is there.
‘You struggle to keep them all happy.
‘I do try to juggle the balls to keep them happy. I want them to have a sense of how important they are.
‘It wouldn’t be normal if there wasn’t a moan or two.
‘My job is to keep the supporters happy, the people at the club happy and the players happy.
‘You do have to disappoint one or two of them, but Adam will be back in our team by the end of the season.
‘It’s tough disappointing players.
‘Ben Close hasn’t travelled to the last couple of games.
‘He was outstanding in that spell in the team.
‘That’s the difficulty of having larger numbers in the squad.’