Paul Cook senses momentum shift as Pompey stay on course

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler

Enda Stevens. Picture: Joe Pepler

Cook: Pompey defender can win international honours

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Paul Cook senses the momentum growing behind his Pompey side as he delivered his mid-term report.

The Blues play their 23rd match of the 46-game League Two season on Boxing Day as they travel to Leyton Orient.

Pompey's win over rivals Northampton propelled them to 40 points. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey's win over rivals Northampton propelled them to 40 points. Picture: Joe Pepler

Even if they lose at Brisbane Road, their current tally of 40 points at the halfway mark is on course for a play-off berth at the very least.

A total haul of 80 points would guarantee a place in the top seven.

But in nine of the past 20 seasons, that number of points has even been good enough for automatic promotion.

The Pompey boss expects his side to improve over the second half of the campaign.

Hopefully, that momentum is growing now among the supporters

Paul Cook

And although he hinted at an element of disappointment in their current position, he feels the recent improvement has galvanised belief among the supporters.

Cook said: ‘We’re doing okay. We are a little bit happier lately with our goals return.

‘Everyone has an idea on how they want their team to play and there were times earlier this season where we thinking “we are not quite right”.

‘But lately, that has been better. There was a period where there was a little bit of criticism over performances and that’s right – supporters are entitled to have their opinion.

‘Hopefully, that momentum is growing now among the supporters. I think you can feel that.

‘We would like more points but I think there is more improvement in us.

‘I think there is more to come from the players, in general.

‘There are so many more points to play for and we want to win games. We want to climb the league.

‘Until we achieve that, we won’t be happy.

‘It would be harsh on the players to say I am disappointed.

‘Privately, we might be disappointed but there is no need to be.

‘There is a lot of football to be played and we’ve got to make sure we stay on the front foot.’

It’s worth remembering it’s a new team that was assembled over the summer and Cook has learned some important lessons over the first half of the campaign.

He said: ‘You might have expected a slower start perhaps.

‘We’ve had some bumps and bruises along the way and a couple of late goals have hurt us but that’s football.

‘Come the end of the season, that’s where you deserve to finish.

‘Our job is to make us a better team. You don’t just turn up and wave a magic wand.

‘It’s about combinations of players and getting the right players playing together.

‘That can take a bit of time to work those things out.

‘I feel we have the ability to be a better team – that’s not just down to particular players but among the whole group.’

And Cook has clearly lost none of his drive to lead the club to promotion.

He said: ‘Our club must succeed. If people don’t succeed, you will lose them along the way.

‘The players must have an appetite to succeed.

‘If you haven’t got it, I can’t see you hanging around here long.’

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