The foot soldier Cook wants at Pompey

Paul Cook wants players he can rely on next season.

Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 1:00 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:37 am
Pompey midfielder Danny Hollands Picture: Joe Pepler

In that case, expect Danny Hollands to be part of his Pompey plans for the 2016-17 campaign.

Hollands underlines in The News today his eagerness to remain at Fratton Park moving forward.

Talks have been ongoing with the midfielder about a mutual 12-month extension to the deal he signed in 2014.

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The 30-year-old is settled in the area, living with his wife and young family in Fontwell.

It’s the manner in which he fits the remit laid down by his manager for the type of player he wants next season, which suggests there is a place for the combative grafter moving forward.

Cook intimated in The News last week he has players he feels can’t rely on.

What’s needed are men who can follow instructions and don’t go missing in games. Men who can adapt to the cut and thrust of battle without been spoon-fed.

The manner in which Hollands’ stock has risen since Cook began to place an emphasis on those qualities has been clear to see.

His days at Pompey looked to be over at the start of the campaign, as he appeared not to fit in with how Cook was developing his side.

He had to wait until the end of September for his first start at Bristol Rovers.

Hollands is a low-maintenance professional, however, and got his head down.

They were qualities noted by Cook and his inclusion coincided with an eight-game unbeaten run through the rump of the campaign.

A fractured fibula in January halted his progress, but another spell on the sidelines came to an end after the defeat at Barnet.

That bleak night in north London appeared to mark a sea-change for Cook, and Hollands went on to play every game over the rest of the season, other than being rested for the final-day clash with Northampton.

Cook has made it clear to the player he wants him at Fratton Park next season.

The man who scored five in five when arriving on loan in 2014 is about perspiration over inspiration these days. It seems to be an approach his manager values.

As is the way with negotiations, though, both club and player will jostle to gain the best position.

And, no doubt, Hollands was recruited on reasonable wages at this level with his stock high on his arrival.

But if his manager wants foot soldiers he can trust, Hollands will be enlisted for the new campaign.