Cook: Lalkovic will add the unpredictability Pompey need

PAUL COOK wants to banish the predictability, eradicate the calculable and remove the anticipated.

Friday, 1st July 2016, 10:00 am
Milan Lalkovic has been tipped to excite the Pompey fans. Picture Ian Hargreaves (160855-4)

And he has identified Milan Lalkovic as the player to deliver.

The 23-year-old this week arrived at Fratton Park with a reputation to excite and an ability to thrill.

Equipped with directness, skill and pace, Lalkovic is a winger Cook believes can provide that cutting edge so crucially absent last term.

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On eight occasions Pompey failed to break down a visiting defence at Fratton, an unsatisfactory outcome for any prospective promotion challengers.

Now they have recruited a player with eight goals and eight assists for League One outfit Walsall last season.

And Cook is convinced the newcomer will inspire.

He said: ‘Milan is a very exciting player in the final third of the pitch and a little bit different to the type we have.

‘He is more of a ball carrier, a person who wants to get at people with pace and energy, so we are delighted to have him.

‘With Lalkovic and Carl Baker coming in and adding to what we already have in those areas, it probably makes us ridiculously strong there.

‘He’s a young lad who came over to Chelsea as a wonderboy and a superstar age around 15, his family all moved over as well.

‘Like most lads at that age they have a period when it doesn’t happen for them – but eventually find their feet again.

‘With the talent Milan has got, eventually they find a home where they will flourish and he had a fantastic year at Walsall.

‘On the couple of times I watched him, he always gets you off the edge of your seat and that is what we want at Fratton Park.

‘At times last season we were a little bit predictable with our play, a little bit safe, and we feel having a player of Milan’s quality will give our fans that little added excitement of when he gets the ball. Hopefully it raises the expectations.

‘And he doesn’t lack a bit of confidence, shall we say!’

The Slovakia under-21 international spent seven years at Chelsea, although didn’t make a first-team appearance.

Instead he served time out on loan from Stamford Bridge, representing Doncaster Rovers, Walsall, Den Haag and Guimareas until his 2014 release.

It was as a permanent player at the Saddlers last year when he flourished, capturing Cook’s attention.

And Pompey’s boss admits he was impressed by the youngster’s attitude during talks.

He added: ‘One of the pleasing things when we met was he spoke about our club rather than speaking about clubs he was talking to.

‘The conversations lasted a long time and were all about football and who we were going to sign, never about money.

‘There were some really good clubs after Milan and financially he probably could have had better offers, but chose here. That is great credit not just to the club but to the supporters and our board as well.

‘Mind you, his dad still thinks Portsmouth are in the Premier League. I’ve told Milan not to put him right!’