Paul Cook: New Pompey striker a first-team contender
Jamal Lowe will be considered for first-team duty upon his much-anticipated Pompey arrival.
That is the pledge from Paul Cook as he relishes the January arrival of the in-form striker.
Lowe netted an 88th-minute leveller against Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday night.
It took his season’s tally for National League South side Hampton & Richmond to 21 goals in 27 matches.
In addition, he last week marked his England C debut with the match-winner against Estonia.
Pompey already have Michael Smith, Conor Chaplin, Noel Hunt and Curtis Main challenging for one striking spot in the starting line-up.
But Cook believes Lowe is ready to step up and challenge for a first-team place.
He said: ‘Imagine us signing someone who scores, you would never believe that would you!
‘We are in touch with Jamal and he is doing great.
‘The lad is delighted with his move here.
‘He is an exciting young player and hopefully will have a good future with us.
‘He comes to us in January and we will consider him for first-team duty.
‘The lad should enjoy his time where he is and then will come back to us and be like a new signing.
‘We definitely think non-league players, like Jamal, can make the step up.
‘There is a little bit of a grandeur about football that if you sign Joe Bloggs everything will be great but we believe non-league lads can make the step.’
Among Pompey’s current squad, the likes of Gary Roberts, Carl Baker, Tom Davies and Danny Rose have emerged into the Football League from non-league.
Shown the door by Barnet in January 2015, Lowe has since seen service at St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and now Hampton & Richmond.
Although having signed an 18-month Fratton Park deal, he has remained with the promotion-hunting Beavers until the new year.
And Cook insists he has no qualms putting his faith in non-league talent.
He added: ‘If you look at games in general now, it’s very rare you see someone win four, five or six nil, even in the FA Cup you don’t ever see those hammerings.
‘Leam (Richardson) recently saw Brackley play Gillingham in the FA Cup.
‘Brackley were the best team and won 4-3.
‘Nowadays teams are fitter, everyone is more organised.
‘You only had to watch the youth team the other week and the Metropolitan Police got everyone behind the ball, were dead narrow and our lads had difficulty in overcoming it.
‘It’s football, people are organised, matches are much closer.
‘That is why I am highlighting the point, all the games now are close, this is football today – and non-league players can step up.’