Pompey midfielder gets familiar feeling of promotion

Pompey new boy Carl Baker Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Pompey new boy Carl Baker Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss weighs up best attacking formula

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Carl Baker has backed Pompey for promotion after sniffing the familiar scent of success.

It was two years ago when the attacking midfielder snubbed a Fratton Park switch from Coventry when Andy Awford was at the helm.

With Pompey I get the same feeling as I did when I joined MK Dons and it would be fantastic if it turned out the same

Carl Baker

Instead, he opted to remain in League One with MK Dons – and became a pivotal figure in their charge towards the Championship.

Karl Robinson’s side finished second in the 2014-15 season, with Baker crowned player of the year as he basked in making the correct decision.

Finally, though, he is a Pompey player, penning a two-year deal earlier last month after opting to leave MK Dons.

And as he surveys his new surroundings, the 33-year-old gets that same feeling from two years ago.

Baker said: ‘I have signed for the club, not the league, and hopefully Pompey won’t be in this league too long.

‘I’m hoping it will only be for one season. If we are winning and top of the league it doesn’t matter what league you are in so I am looking forward to it.

‘I nearly signed a couple of years ago, I actually watched Pompey at Burton and met Andy Awford. It nearly happened.

‘But with MK Dons I fancied them to go up that season, which swung it for me.

‘They had just beaten Manchester United 4-0 in the Capital One Cup and had people like Deli Alli, Will Grigg and Benik Afobe, a really strong squad.

‘I looked at the league and thought they had a right chance to go up so if I could go and be part of that then great, plus location-wise it was close to home.

‘Now is time for a change. I could have stayed but it is time for a new challenge.

‘With Pompey I get the same feeling as I did when I joined MK Dons and it would be fantastic if it turned out the same.

‘While on holiday I was constantly looking at the website to see the players coming in, seeing what’s happening, and it excites me.

‘We can definitely get out of this division and have to go up, it’s as simple as that.

‘The club is too big to be in League Two and, fair play to the gaffer, he is not standing still. He wants the club to go back up and knows what it means to the fans – and is having a good go.’

Baker made 34 appearances in the Championship last season, scoring three times, as the Dons were relegated.

But he doesn’t plan to be in League Two for long.

He added: ‘A couple of League One clubs made me an offer, including MK Dons, but for me it was the right time to come to Pompey and I wanted to be part of it.

‘They offered me a two-year deal while other clubs offered a one-year deal so, hopefully, if everything goes to plan, I can be back in League One the following season.

‘It’s a no-brainer when you look at the bigger picture and I really fancy this club to go up this season.’