Paul Cook: We’ll keep looking for new stopper

Pompey boss Paul Cook   Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Midfielder revelling in Pompey presence

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Paul Cook is still seeking an experienced number one to end his lengthy goalkeeping hunt.

In the meantime, he will continue to closely scrutinise triallists Michael Crowe and Eric Grimes.

The young duo each served for a half in Pompey’s 3-3 draw at Sligo Rovers last night.

The Blues let slip a 3-0 half-time lead, having netted through Conor Chaplin (two) and Gary Roberts.

No criticism can be levelled at the pair, with free agent Grimes in nets during the forgettable second half as Sligo scored twice in the final five minutes.

Nonetheless, Cook wants an older figure in goal for the campaign ahead and will keep assessing potential options.

He said: ‘The two lads are on trial, we are just having a look at these boys and will see how it goes.

‘Our fans know we are in the market for a goalkeeper, that is the reality of it, and we are doing our best to get a goalkeeper in.

‘Michael is from Ipswich and we have a great relationship with them. Mick McCarthy has been fantastic to us, he sees us as a club which develops players properly and well.

‘Everyone knows we need a goalkeeper, though.

‘Paul Jones is on his way back from his thigh problem, it is disappointing for him so at the minute we haven’t got strength in that position.

‘No matter how Paul is or will be, we still need a goalkeeper.

‘He seems to be doing more and more rehabilitation now but it just seems to be dragging on. Muscle injuries are not nice things, you are always moving so can be tough.

‘Once we get a new keeper let’s get behind him.

‘They all make mistakes and if we want to go against ours after one or two errors we will forever be changing goalkeepers.

‘Whether it be Paul Jones, Alex Bass or whoever comes in, let’s give them our support and try to judge them over a period of time.’

Pompey’s third keeper on their Ireland trip is Bass, who is expected to start against Bohemians on Saturday,

Along with Curtis Main, they were the only members of the 23-strong squad not to feature against Sligo.

Bass’ development was rewarded with a first-year professional deal in the summer having emerged from the Academy system.

And Cook has high regard for the youngster who still awaits his first-team debut.

He added: ‘I am delighted with Alex, I feel at this moment in time I should really compliment him.

‘He has come through now and I really think the future is bright for him.

‘Alex will go on and be a top, top goalkeeper.

‘His next year or two is massive now and if his appetite for the game and attitude towards training stays the same I think the boy is going to have a very bright career.

‘He will be involved on Saturday, I really like him.’