Pompey boss dismisses 20-goal striker necessity

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Brett Pitman picked up a broken nose when scoring Pompey's opener against Fleetwood on Saturday Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey bravery has seen many wounded refuse to quit action

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Paul Cook has dismissed the necessity for a Pompey 20-goal-a-season striker.

Instead the Blues boss has pledged to demonstrate a more adventurous approach at Fratton Park.

We are going to be braver with our formations, especially at home

Paul Cook

Pompey were the fourth-highest scorers in League Two last term, netting 75 times.

Yet they still failed to register in eight matches on home turf.

On-loan Marc McNulty was the top scorer with 12 goals, with Conor Chaplin (11), Gary Roberts (10) and Gareth Evans (10) also featuring prominently.

This summer Michael Smith and Curtis Main have strengthened Cook’s attacking options.

But he has played down the need for a much-vaunted 20-goals-a-season candidate.

He said: ‘If you look at Conor’s goals-per-games record and factor that into 46 games, how many goals would he have got? You can do the same for Marc McNulty.

‘People say we need a 20-goal striker and I believe our lads are that – but they need to play every game.

‘The problem is you are then getting into fatigue and formations issues.

‘But I don’t believe 20-goal-a-season strikers are necessary.

‘We scored 75 goals last year, so if we have a striker who gets 30 and we get 75 goals then what has changed?

‘If we could get that up past the 80-goal mark the likelihood is you are having a strong season, this is the stuff I look for.

‘I believe Kyle Bennett must score more goals, we know Roberts playing every week will get some, Carl Baker will get goals, Milan Lalkovic will get goals, Evans gets goals, Chaplin gets goals, we are not going to struggle for goals, that’s for sure.

‘We are going to be braver with our formations, especially at home.

‘We are going to get more of them forward, try our best to not be as predictable in our play as we probably were last year.

‘We are maybe going to be a little bit more adventurous.

‘And you never know, we might nick another striker.’

Ruling out Matt Tubbs, who has no Fratton Park future, there are three strikers on the Blues’ books.

The arrivals of Smith and Main pitchs them against Chaplin in vying for a starting XI spot.

Essentially, only one can feature in Cook’s favoured 4-2-3-1 system, yet he is toying with fielding two strikers at home on occasions.

And Cook has not given up on recruiting another attacker.

He added: ‘You never know, I will always keep badgering for more!

‘I have a good chairman in Ian McInnes, to be fair. He wants success and that filters down.

‘If I challenged our board to try to do something and they thought I was being positive in what I was trying to do I am sure they will try to help me.

‘But at the minute those names are very hard to find.’