New recruit Davies fits Pompey defensive DNA

Tom Davies looks the part in Paul Cook's central-defensive photofit.

Wednesday, 13th July 2016, 9:00 am
Pompey boss Paul Cook is a big admirer of former Accrington defender Tom Davies

And Pompey’s boss believes the summer capture possesses the playing attributes to establish himself as a first-team regular.

The 24-year-old arrived from Accrington Stanley earlier this month on a two-year deal.

It swells the number of centre-halves at Fratton Park to four, with Christian Burgess, Matt Clarke and Jack Whatmough also in the building.

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In addition, Cook has earmarked Adam Barton for a defensive role this season rather than his familiar midfield spot.

There’s plenty of competition in the heart of the Blues defence for their latest attempts to escape the confines of League Two.

And Cook insists the latest challenger has the attributes he wants in his side.

He said: ‘All of our defenders play from the back and defend properly.

‘Tom had an outstanding first season for Accrington last term, he is a very hungry young player who wants to do well.

‘He trains well, is aggressive in his play in everything he does, and I think is going to have a really bright career at our club.

‘Accrington had 85 points last season and a better away record than ours. You have got to be able to defend and I think he can really improve us.

‘Tom has a yard of pace, is aggressive, can pass and is brave at what he does.

‘He wouldn’t be the physical 6ft 4in person some people might want, but that type of player wouldn’t offer a lot of the other qualities we like – which is mobility and stuff like that.

‘You don’t know when players stop improving. Tom may come into us and struggle playing at Fratton Park or he might eat it up, we don’t know.

‘Until these lads are given opportunities none of us will know.’

Davies suffered a back spasm in training at the end of last week, keeping him out of Saturday’s friendly victory at Bohemians.

Pompey are hopeful he will be able to feature in tonight’s match at the Hawks (7pm), their third pre-season fixture.

Cook is now well-stocked in the centre of defence, particularly with Clarke not requiring the groin operation which was once feared necessary.

Burgess will be Cook’s favoured choice on the right-hand side of the pairing, leaving the others to scrap it out to partner him.

Barton played the final five games of last season during the injury absence of Clarke and Adam Webster, who have since swapped clubs.

Whatmough started the final match of the league campaign, his first such outing for more than a year having recovered from a cruciate knee ligament injury.

And Cook also felt the necessity to add free-agent Davies into his ranks this summer.

He added: ‘We we just a little bit worried about Matt Clarke and with Jack only playing one game.

‘We have also got to be careful with the absence of the emergency loan market, you can quickly find yourself in trouble.

‘With the likes of Adam Barton covering us everywhere, we have good strength in depth there.’