Cook promises Pompey change
PAUL COOK is preparing to sacrifice his footballing principles at Newport County.
And that is likely to mean Pompey making changes in personnel and formation on Boxing Day.
The dire state of the pitch at Rodney Parade is set to see Cook change his tune over his approach.
Cook has indicated chopping and changing formations sends mixed messages to players.
But he revealed the time is right to tinker with his set-up as Pompey enter the Christmas period.
Cook said: ‘We will change. I’m not going to dress it up.
‘We will change formation and we will not be trying to play football.
‘I’m not comfortable with it but that’s just the nature of the game.
‘You have to adjust. If I feel the pitch is a leveller I won’t offer my players up to play a brand of football that will see us lose.
‘Our team will change over the next two or three games for every game.
‘That’s the reality of it. We’re all focussed on putting the points on the board which will get us to where we want to be.’
Cook has to weigh up how to approach the trip to Wales in terms of selection.
The game marks the beginning of four games in 11 days with three of those coming on the road.
The likes of Kal Naismith, Milan Lalkovic and Conor Chaplin are among those pushing for starts.
Naismith hasn’t started in the league since the defeat to Doncaster in October.
Lalkovic’s last league start arrived against Wycombe in September with Chaplin starting at Cheltenham last month.
Gary Roberts’ place in the side is proving a talking point as his form takes a dip.
Cook explained team selection for Newport was considered before the weekend meeting with Hartlepool.
He said: ‘Going forward these games will present different challenges.
‘There will be games away from home where teams try to beat you that will become easier than games at home when teams aren’t.
‘We haven’t adapted well enough to win the games at Fratton Park.
‘There’s no excuses offered up.
‘I think changing personnel at home, in some games, is a factor which will happen.
‘But also in other games it’s not the personnel.
‘Our team for Newport would’ve been picked well before the Hartlepool game.
‘Our players have conviction, but players will suffer with confidence. You only have to look at Gary Roberts to see that.
‘The lads are in a good place at the moment, though. The lads are confident as a whole.
‘We’ve trained well and we feel we played well in the past couple of games.
‘We’re disappointed at the Hartlepool result, but we sit fourth in the league. We will end up where we deserve.’