Cook: Now is time for Pompey united front
HE CAN sense a unity building.
And Paul Cook has now sent a message to Pompey fans calling for supporters and players to remain on that path together.
Two promising away performances on the spin has bred confidence going into tomorrow’s clash with Notts County.
Fans have seen plenty to be positive about in their side’s play in visits to Leyton Orient and Plymouth.
And Cook has picked up on a feel-good factor in the build-up to their return to Fratton Park tomorrow.
The Blues are now entering a run of games which look more favourable compared to their opening.
Cook expects there to be plenty of testing moments but is calling on his club’s players and fans to energise each other on the journey ahead.
He said: ‘The punters see it and it’s that feeding off each other.
‘If, with all due respect, the players were as good as the supporters we would win the league.
‘What we’ve got to do is aspire to that.
‘No-one is promoted in October or November. We have to stay with each other. It’s huge.
‘We have to drag each other through the low points and not look to say why things are going wrong.
‘Every Pompey fan has seen League Two for long enough now. They know what can go wrong!
‘They could write a book on it because it can happen in a heartbeat! We’ve been here before.
‘But we’ve got to have a belief in what we’re doing – and I feel that belief is getting stronger.’
Cook explained he is trying to keep his emotions on an even keel as he assesses his team’s early League Two progress.
But even as he avoids extreme reactions, he is being encouraged by what his eyes show him in terms of Pompey’s performances.
‘After winning at Orient there was a feel-good factor. Then you get to Plymouth,’ said Cook.
‘I sensed there’s something different about the place. It comes off the wins.
‘My moods are quite similar. I’m not dead high after winning or banging drums after we get beat.
‘At the height of our lows I want us to be what we are – I think that’s what we’ve been in the past two games.
‘The most ardent Plymouth fan would’ve left the ground last week saying Portsmouth are a good side.
‘That’s what I want. I want people to speak of us well.’
It was the disappointing opening in the Doncaster defeat which sparked a renewed focus on the qualities Cook wants to see from his side. And he is maintaining the emphasis on his team that they keep up their recent work-rate.
‘The biggest compliment a manager can have is over how hard his players work,’ he added.
‘One week they say it to me and one week we don’t.
‘Talent will always shine through, but without a work ethic or desire?
‘We didn’t have that in the first half against Doncaster – by that time we were 2-0 down. The train was gone.
‘We can’t rely on the names on the team sheet to think we’re good. I won’t let up on that.’