Whirlwind Pompey switch has Poke in a spin

Michael Poke
Michael Poke
Pompey midfielder Ben Close Picture: Joe Pepler

Close is free from injury and full of Pompey ambition

9
Have your say

Pompey registered their interest – and within four days Michael Poke had joined.

It was a whirlwind transfer for the Torquay keeper which would see him arrive at Fratton Park on a two-year deal.

Andy Awford made an approach to the out-of-contract goalkeeper on Friday as he searched for a rival to Paul Jones.

It immediately prompted Poke to break off talks with the Gulls and his agent over a new deal and shatter the hopes of other potential suitors.

Yesterday, the 28-year-old completed his Pompey move, along with James Dunne from Stevenage.

And for the former Southampton apprentice, there was no reason to waste time.

He said: ‘You look at the fan base and the history – it’s a massive club so it was an easy decision.

‘Torquay had offered me a new contract and we were talking terms, then this came about on Friday.

‘It was really quick, as quick as that. As soon as I found out I wanted to come.

‘I played here last season and came off the pitch buzzing. You don’t get crowds of this size in League Two.

‘We had won 1-0 in this really tight game and I remember the atmosphere and then speaking to my dad, saying to him: “Imagine playing here very week!”

‘It is some place.

‘So as soon as I heard about the interest I jumped at coming. It was an easy decision.

‘We had been speaking to a few clubs but I couldn’t turn this down, it was simple.

‘From my experience visiting here with Torquay last season, playing here boosts you, without a doubt.

‘We were right down there and that was probably one of our best performances – it really helped us raise our game.

‘Hopefully, I can now play here regularly after joining the club.’

Poke came through the ranks at St Mary’s and made four appearances, before leaving in July 2010.

He spent two seasons at Brighton, before moving to Torquay – a club where he enjoyed two loan spells while at Saints.

Last season he played 14 times, with injury restricting more appearances.