Paul Cook welcomes Pompey selection headache

Pompey manager Paul Cook has welcomed his selection headache ahead of today's Fratton Park clash with Leyton Orient (3pm).

Saturday, 6th February 2016, 5:58 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:40 pm
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler

Blues boss Cook made four changes to the side who lost 2-1 to Bournemouth in the FA Cup last weekend for Tuesday night’s 1-1 League Two draw at Morecambe.

New arrival Michael Smith was handed a debut start for the visitors up front, with winger Kal Naismith recalled to the line-up for the first time since November.

But with the likes of Gary Roberts and Kyle Bennett pushing for a recall against the O’s, Cook admits there are tough, yet pleasing, decisions to be made.

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He said: ‘Selection headaches are welcome.

‘You are always wanting to put a balanced team on the pitch and it is important we do that.

‘We have got to get continuity in team selection.

‘But we have a good group of players here at the club – I am delighted with the squad.

‘The important thing is we get freshness and energy on the pitch and try our best to make teams defend for long spells – at home, especially.

‘That is what we will try to do today.’

A hamstring strain for Adam Webster looks set to force Cook’s hand in defence, with Christian Burgess expected to resume responsibilities alongside Matt Clarke.

One man to feel the heat of the Blues’ depth of talent was midfielder Nigel Atangana, who returns to Fratton Park one month after being allowed to exit for Orient.

Cook added: ‘Nigel has no point to prove.

‘He is a smashing player and the reason he left was because we couldn’t offer him enough first-team games.

‘He has a real appetite for the game and wants to play football.

‘We hope he goes on and has a really good career.’