Pompey boss: I’m not giving up

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Adam May battles for the ball against Cardiff City. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder hungry for more first-team action

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Paul Cook insists he would be ‘stupid’ to give up on Pompey’s automatic promotion aspirations.

And the Blues boss is targeting victory tomorrow at York to bolster fading hopes.

What I have found – and I know football well enough – is this is not over yet by a long stretch of the imagination for anyone, that includes us

Paul Cook

Pompey appeared to be cruising to a vital victory over promotion rivals Plymouth Argyle on Saturday thanks to Michael Smith’s first-half header.

Yet two goals in the final six minutes saw the Pilgrims scramble a triumph from a game in which they were largely second-best.

It was heartbreak for Cook’s men on a day Oxford United lost and Accrington drew – results which fell in their favour.

The Blues now lie six points off the automatic promotion positions with a game in hand.

Time is running out – but Cook is not surrendering.

He said: ‘I will never give up on anything, I am not that stupid.

‘If you are a Liverpool fan, the other night against Borussia Dortmund showed you what football can do, so I will never give up on it.

‘Other people can play whatever games they want to play in terms of who will go up, who won’t.

‘What I have found – and I know football well enough – is this is not over yet by a long stretch of the imagination for anyone, that includes us.

‘But to do anything you must win games.

‘People write teams off at this level now very quickly.

‘Look at Plymouth, they lose a game or two and some say they have gone, their manager himself said they had given up on the automatics.

‘A win would have put our destiny in our own hands and that is a major disappointment.

‘For 84 minutes we had it. Oxford have been beaten at home, Accrington have drawn at home – yet we ended up losing.’

Smith’s third goal for the club arrived in the 37th minute from Matt Clarke’s ball into the box.

Yet crucially, for all their dominance, the Blues failed to grab a second.

They were made to pay when Jamille Matt headed home an 84th-minute leveller before Gregg Wylde’s strike two minutes later.

Now Cook’s men head to relegation-bound York tomorrow night.

He added: ‘We have to move away now, look at ourselves and go again.

‘We always looked like we could score, unfortunately we didn’t.

‘Our selection in the final third was poor. You have got to make sure you see teams off and we had good opportunities to do that,

‘Reuben Reid coming on gave them a little bit more power up front, which gave them the impetus in the game.

‘The goal gave them the energy to go on and you have got to give them credit for that.

‘It is easy to say they have robbed us, they have mugged us – but they have scored two good goals.’