Pompey relishing trip to Emerald Isle

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey forward Kyle Bennett Picture: Joe Pepler

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Paul Cook believes Pompey’s trip to the Emerald Isle offers the perfect pre-season preparation.

On Monday the Blues fly out to Ireland for a seven-day stay that will consist of two friendlies.

It will be the chance to get to know all the squad in a social environment, which you can appreciate is very important

Paul Cook

Based in County Meath, around 30 minutes outside Dublin, it will be an opportunity for Cook’s new-look squad to bond.

Having returned to training this week, the trip serves as the next step in the build-up to League Two’s August 6 kick-off.

While there, Pompey will fulfil fixtures against Sligo Rovers (Wednesday, July 6) and Bohemians (Saturday, July 9) before returning to England on the Sunday.

Cook is, of course, familiar with Ireland, having managed Sligo for almost five years before departing for Accrington Stanley in February 2012.

And he believes the stay is ideal for bringing together a squad so far containing six new faces.

Cook said: ‘Ireland will be for the new lads to integrate a bit better and meet everyone away from home.

‘It will be the chance to get to know all the squad in a social environment, which you can appreciate is very important.

‘Ireland will give us good training, two games, a little bit of a social and then we can come back and get our heads down to hit the ground for the new season.

‘It will be good trip for everyone. It is a nice environment, Ireland is a lovely country to go and play in.

‘As you can see from the Euros, the Irish people are fantastic to be around, the games will be good ones and our supporters can also go out there and enjoy it.

‘It’s all about gearing up for the season and this trip will be ideal for everyone – including our fans.’