Paul Cook delivers Pompey loan pair verdict

Kal Naismith. Picture: Joe Pepler

Kal Naismith. Picture: Joe Pepler

Carlisle manager Keith Curle Picture: Joe Pepler

Curle’s plea to Carlisle fans ahead of Pompey visit

  • Naismith and Dunne allowed to stay out on loan
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Paul Cook believes Kal Naismith and James Dunne are better off staying where they are.

The Pompey duo are out on loan but due to return to Fratton Park early in January when their loans expire.

For me, they can stay where they are.

Paul Cook

Winger Naismith joined the club in the summer but after he was hampered by injury in the early part of the season, he struggled to break into the side.

After just two league starts, he was allowed out on loan to Hartlepool where he has since played four games.

Dunne, meanwhile, has made 11 appearances for Dagenham & Redbridge since joining them early in November and does not appear to have a future at Pompey under Cook.

Signed by Andy Awford in 2014, the former Stevenage midfielder was a key man last season but has made just one substitute appearance for Pompey in the Capital One Cup so far this term.

With Pompey in a good run of form and without too many injuries to contend with, it’s unlikely either player would force their way into Cook’s matchday squad at present.

So Cook is happy for them to continue playing games at other clubs.

Asked if he saw them coming back into the squad when their loans finished, Cook replied: ‘Not at the minute.

‘For me, they can stay where they are.

‘We haven’t spoken to the lads greatly about it.

‘But for me, playing football is important.

‘Where they are, they will be match fit.

‘So if they do have to come back and play, they are ready to play.

‘We would be happy with where we’re at.’

Although Dunne looks unlikely to feature for Pompey again, it remains to be seen whether Naismith will find a way back into the plans.

Cook is happy with the depth of his current squad and is still keen to reduce the numbers in the January transfer window.

But even though Pompey face a tough schedule with the Boxing Day trip to Leyton Orient followed by the home clash with Luton, he is not looking at making wholesale changes to his side.

Cook said: ‘We’ve got two games in quick succession. For the way our strikers work, logic tells you they are not going to play 90 minutes in both games.

‘I’m not planning to rotate the team too much, although that might change at 5pm on Boxing Day, depending on the result!

‘We’re at that point where continuity and consistency is important – it’s huge.

‘It’s about respecting your place in the team and doing what you can to keep that shirt.

‘If we felt it was right to give someone a little break, we would.

‘But now we have that bit of momentum and we must take that as far as we can.

‘We certainly won’t be interfering with it too much.’

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