Pompey boss praises club progress

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey midfielder Stuart O'Keefe is on a season-long loan from Cardiff Picture: Joe Pepler

Jackett lauds his Pompey driving force

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PAUL COOK praised the overall set-up at Pompey after three positive performances in different competitions.

The Blues boss saw his side thrash Mansfield 4-0 on Saturday in League Two.

He then watched the reserves perform strongly in a 0-0 draw with Championship Wolves in the Premier League Cup at Westleigh Park on Monday.

And on Wednesday the Blues boss saw Mikey Harris’ Pompey Academy side beat Metropolitan Police 2-0 to progress in the FA Youth Cup at Fratton Park.

Cook felt the reserves deserved to beat Wolves and praised the work Harris and Mark Kelly, right, are doing with the Academy set-up.

He said: ‘The pleasing thing about football is that as a manager you are in charge of the whole club. That is almost all the teams that go on the pitch.

‘When we first came in we got rid of the reserve team and different stuff.

‘The performances we saw during the week show people that there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes.

‘Not me, there’s a lot of people here working hard.

‘From Mark Kelly, Mikey Harris, and the youth team, right through to Ian Foster who has been taking those teams with the help of the senior staff.

‘Our club is getting great results now at youth team level.

‘At under-23 level we are playing category one teams like Norwich and Wolves, who put a lot of money into their academy and we are playing these teams on a level playing field and we’re not getting bad results.

‘I saw the Norwich game and the Wolves game and I feel we were the better team in both games.

‘We are making great strides behind the scenes, albeit we haven’t got a reserve team.’

Cook has also been able to hand valuable match minutes to some of his first-team squad in the various competitions.

On Monday Drew Talbot, Jack Whatmough, Adam Buxton and Michael Smith all played 90 minutes against Wolves.

A number of other senior players have also benefited from featuring in various cup competitions this season.

Cook added: ‘It’s great, we’ve had Kal Naismith play, Noel Hunt has played, Michael Smith, Drew Talbot and Adam Buxton, so all lads within the group are getting games.

‘The players have an opportunity to impress people.

‘I think there was a decent crowd at Havant and I think there was a good crowd at the youth team game.

‘We go up to Everton on the first Monday in December in the Premier League Cup and we are already planning for that.

‘There’s a lot of planning, there’s a lot of detail goes in.

‘I feel the club is coming on well.

‘That’s great credit to Portsmouth Football Club that I feel the club is doing great in those areas.’