Pompey boss puts faith in ‘comfortable’ system for players

Eoin Doyle will lead the Pompey line against Accrington as Paul Cook opts to employ his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation Picture: Joe Pepler
Eoin Doyle will lead the Pompey line against Accrington as Paul Cook opts to employ his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation Picture: Joe Pepler
Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Paul Cook will continue with his favoured system as he attempts to kick-start a Pompey winning streak.

The Blues reverted to 4-2-3-1 at Wycombe – and produced a display which left their manager encouraged.

I’m not one of those who shovels blame onto people, it’s my job to pick the team, it’s my job to try to get up

Paul Cook

Since arriving in May 2015, the formation has been instilled into his Pompey squad, such has been Cook’s belief in its effectiveness.

Recently, a 4-4-2 system was rolled out, culminating in the desperately-disappointing display against Exeter.

The Blues host Accrington on Saturday in a must-win fixture if they are going to strengthen automatic promotion claims.

And they will do so in a system Cook insists his players are more comfortable in performing.

He said: ‘They looked more comfortable playing that way at Wycombe.

‘We’ve brought a lot of players in to play that way and they have learnt to do it.

‘In my time here, we have only ever lost two league games on the run twice, yet you feel the pressure around you so much.

‘What happens if you don’t get a result is, in general, people clamour for change, but I think you clamour to get worse.

‘I watched us against Exeter and I actually think that has happened.

‘Fans want to debate that I am blaming them, but I haven’t, I’m blaming myself, that’s down to me.

‘I’m not one of those who shovels blame on to people, it’s my job to pick the team, it’s my job to try to get up.

‘Come the end of the season our league position will deem whether we have improved on last year.

‘As a manager, I pride myself on improving.

‘Amine Linganzi and Michael Doyle were excellent Saturday, they were comfortable being defensive midfielders.

‘It’s completely different things you are asking them to do. We are alight doing what we do.

‘I am upbeat, I’m looking forward to the games coming up, I enjoy our lads being comfortable in the system, I look at the subs coming onto the pitch on Saturday and they were all balanced.

‘They all know their jobs.’

Pompey hope Gareth Evans recovers from a bruised ankle to retain his place in the side.

The versatile midfielder has missed training this week as the club’s medical staff strive to get him back on to the pitch.

Drew Talbot is standing by to feature at right-back should Evans be ruled out of action.

Meanwhile, Cook has declined to comment on the future of Ian Foster.

Pompey’s first-team coach is seeking to leave Fratton Park, having been offered another job opportunity.

As a result, the Blues are in the process of negotiating compensation for the 40-year-old, who has almost one-and-a-half years remaining on his contract.

Foster has not been involved in Pompey training this week as talks to reach agreement continue.

He arrived at Fratton Park in May 2015 following a spell at Coventry.