Unchanged – but Cook vows player chances will come

Former Pompey boss Frank Burrows

Knight: Gone are Pompey pre-seasons of dodging nettles and brambles

  • Pompey are to keep same league starting XI for the third successive match
  • Substitutes also set to remain the same for tonight’s Crawley trip
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Paul Cook revealed his winning league XI will remain – but promised other players will get their opportunity.

For the third League Two match in a row the Blues are set to name the same starting line-up.

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler

Successive league victories over Dagenham & Redbridge and Plymouth have ensured those players responsible will keep their places for tomorrow night’s trip to Crawley (7.45pm).

It means the likes of Adam McGurk, Conor Chaplin, Danny Hollands and Jayden Stockley will have to wait, despite impressing in the Capital One Cup elimination of Derby County last week.

But Pompey’s boss is adamant the fringe players will be given their first-team chances down the line.

Cook said: ‘We have certainly got aspects of our game we can improve. That is there for everyone to see, but we don’t have to make our own problems when they are not there by changing the team.

These lads haven’t forced their way into my plans any more after the Derby game, they are just unlucky not to be in the team at the minute

‘You earn the right to play and the Derby game was fantastic for everyone at the club because it shows what we have got in depth – that was the pleasing thing for me.

‘These lads haven’t forced their way into my plans any more after the Derby game, they are just unlucky not to be in the team at the minute.

‘I guarantee by October, November and December the lads on the fringes will have played games.

‘When deciding your team you always look at the opposition and think “What if, what if?”

‘But we have the ability on the bench at the minute to change games and influence it.’

Adam Barton and James Dunne are back in full training, yet may again miss out on a place on the bench tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, Kal Naismith remains sidelined with a thigh problem.

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