PAUL COOK has targeted three more clean sheets over the season’s finale.
And the Pompey boss has saluted his defence’s miserly campaign as they go in search of their 19th shutout against Newport County today.
The lack of goals conceded has increasingly impressed as the season has gone on.
The Blues’ defensive strength has been recognised with keeper David Forde and defenders Christian Burgess and Enda Stevens called into the League Two team of the year.
Cook now wants to see their fine form extended.
He said: ‘If we could get 20 or 21 clean sheets that would be great.
‘That’d be fantastic for the club, it really would. We’ll keep working away.
‘Some managers will be screaming “clean sheet, clean sheet!” when you leave the dressing room – and then they concede a goal at five past three.
‘Clean sheets just add to what you do. I think it’s a big plus to be defensively sound.’
Despite having the best defence in League Two, Pompey have conceded three goals on five occasions this season. They have come against Coventry (A), Yeovil (A), Blackpool (A), Doncaster (A) and Stevenage (A).
On top of that, two goals have been shipped nine times – Morecambe (A), Wycombe (H), Doncaster (H), Reading under-23s (H), Plymouth (H), Notts County (H), Wycombe (FA Cup), Stevenage (H) and Newport County (A).
Cook believes there’s a lesson in those statistics.
He added: ‘We’ve conceded three goals quite a few times this season. When we get caught up in the emotion of the game that’s what we do.
‘One disappointment in football can lead to another.
‘So, with that in mind, we’ve actually been on a really good run of nones and ones.’