Cook: My plans for Pompey striker

Jamal Lowe yesterday took his place among Pompey's travelling party to Doncaster.

Thursday, 5th January 2017, 9:00 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:01 pm
New Pompey forward Jamal Lowe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Yet Paul Cook has stressed the importance of steadily integrating his newest Blues recruit into his starting XI.

The striker smashed 23 goals in 31 matches for National League South side Hampton & Richmond ahead of a Fratton Park switch.

Following his arrival at the turn of the year, Lowe was not included in Monday’s 18-man squad for the victory over Luton, although warmed-up with his new team-mates beforehand.

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Pompey tonight face League Two leaders Rovers (7.45pm), with Lowe present in the group of 20 players making the trip to the Keepmoat Stadium.

It remains to be seen if he is included in the final 18 for the fixture televised on Sky.

However, while Cook is keen to introduce the highly-regarded hitman, he is aware the timing must be correct.

He said: ‘Jamal is a very exciting young boy, he has fantastic temperament, fantastic ability and I believe he needs to be integrated.

‘He travelled with the squad yesterday, we have taken 20 to Doncaster so two will miss out on the final 18.

‘Regardless of that outcome, Jamal is very much in our thoughts now to get involved.

‘We must stay confident in what we do and that means integrating the likes of Jamal into the squad and putting them in at the right times.

‘Certainly, if you are going to be truthful, Doncaster away live on Sky wouldn’t be the right time to introduce the young lad.

‘Maybe bringing him on, I have no problem with that, but we must be a little bit patient.

‘Our fans will see him soon, though.

‘It is always a big jump when you look at from league to league, but when you see him train with our lads that’s not an issue with me. He’s a Portsmouth player now, the jump is irrelevant.

‘If we signed Joe Bloggs from the Championship everyone would think he would be a massive hit, so it doesn’t really work like that.’

Lowe bolsters a striking pool which also includes Michael Smith, Noel Hunt, Conor Chaplin and Curtis Main.

However, in his preferred 4-2-3-1 system, Cook regards the former Barnet player as suited to featuring as one of the attacking three.

That would ensure he rivals Kal Naismith, Kyle Bennett, Carl Baker, Gary Roberts and Milan Lalkovic for a first-team spot.

Pompey’s boss added: ‘He can play as one of three, that is the toughest part.

‘In normal games your three will have an opportunity to shine, in certain games when people get everyone behind the ball it’s those moments of magic which are vital.

‘Nathan Jones said something after the Luton game that was important – the match was always going to be decided by a key moment.

‘He was right, it was. We did well in key moments of the game.

‘Your flair players are the key moment, that is what I expect them to be and that is the little bit of pressure on them.’