Pompey boss is still on the Hunt

Noel Hunt. Picture: Joe Pepler
Noel Hunt. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gareth Evans, left, challenges Ricky Holmes for the ball during Fleetwood's only visit to Fratton Park in September 2013

Pompey to welcome back relative unknown to Fratton Park

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PAUL COOK remains confident of landing Noel Hunt.

But the Pompey boss admitted he may have to shift players to make room for the striker.

Cook is still in the hunt for recruits as the Blues signed off from pre-season with a 0-0 draw at Championship outfit Bristol City.

Hunt remains a priority with the 33-year-old still training with Cook’s squad.

The striker was an unused substitute in the promising performance at a much-improved Ashton Gate on Saturday.

The likes of Eastleigh remain keen on the man who left Southend in the summer.

But Cook believes Hunt’s preferred choice is to sign for Pompey.

With the playing budget now at it’s limit, the Blues manager accepts there may need to be some manoeuvring of his options.

And he’s refusing to put pressure on the board to allow him the finances to bring in the final piece of his attacking jigsaw.

Cook said: ‘I’d be quietly confident of getting Noel over the line.

‘Noel wants to come to Portsmouth, but, like everything else, it’s a case of can we or can’t we do it?

‘It’s not a case of putting a gun to the board’s heads.

‘It’s nothing like that and we’re better than that.

‘The reality is if we can do it we can, and if we can’t we can’t.’

Despite still being keen on Hunt and looking for cover in full-back positions, Cook has stressed he’s delighted with his options as the countdown to the new campaign gathers pace.

Keeper David Forde made a promising debut against Bristol City after sealing his season-long loan from Millwall.

The 36-year-old became Pompey’s ninth summer signing when securing his move to Fratton Park.

Matt Clarke, Danny Rose, Milan Lalkovic, Michael Smith, Drew Talbot, Tom Davies, Carl Baker and Curtis Main are the other players to arrive.

Cook said: ‘The squad’s nearly complete now.

‘We’re still looking at getting a couple of loans in. Those talks are ongoing.

‘You never know, we might get one or two in, in terms of cover and depth.

‘But I think we’ve put together a fantastic squad.

‘That’s great credit not to me and my staff but to Portsmouth Football Club.

‘It’s great credit to the people who have bought the season tickets, the chairman and the board.

‘We should enjoy this week building up to the season knowing what we’ve put together and also knowing how tough it’s going to be.

‘There’s also one or two we’re looking at and there may be one or two that we’re looking to move out to develop away from here.

‘But I’m absolutely delighted at where we are today.

‘As we go into the season I’m delighted with the squad.’