Pompey boost attacking capabilities

Pompey have bolstered their attacking capabilities with the signing of Carl Baker.

Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 6:01 am
Carl Baker, left, has joined Pompey

The goalscoring midfielder yesterday signed a two-year deal at Fratton Park after rejecting a new MK Dons contract.

The 33-year-old represents the third signing of the summer as Paul Cook strives to fine-tune a side which last season finished sixth.

Breaking teams down, particularly at home, had been a persistent headache for Pompey during what was still an encouraging campaign.

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They failed to score in eight of their 23 League Two fixtures at Fratton, sharing five goalless draws.

Now Cook has added Baker to his ranks, a player he previously managed at Southport almost a decade ago.

The Blues’ new arrival netted 15 times in 72 appearances during his two seasons at MK Dons.

That includes 10 goals in the 2014-15 campaign which produced promotion to the Championship.

Baker’s contribution that year earned him the club’s player of the season accolade, ahead of Dele Alli and Will Grigg.

Pompey previously attempted to recruit the attacking midfielder in September 2014 following his departure from Coventry.

Andy Awford hoped to bring him to the south coast, only for The Dons to win the chase for the free agent.

Baker had previously made 182 appearances and scored 28 times for the Sky Blues during a four-and-a-half year spell in which he also served as captain.

His time at the Ricoh Arena would also see him number current Pompey players Michael Doyle and Adam Barton among his team-mates.

Cook’s desire to improve his attacking options saw him last month transfer-list Matt Tubbs, Kyle Naismith and Adam McGurk.

All have at least a year remaining on their current Fratton deals, yet are deemed surplus to requirements.

The Blues boss is also aware he needs to strengthen up front, with Conor Chaplin the sole striker in his squad.

Baker arrives with Pompey having also recruited Danny Rose and Matt Clarke since the end of the season.

Rose is a player earmarked to vie for a spot as one of the two holding midfielders and featured for Oxford United and Northampton last season – both teams winning automatic promotion from League Two.

Clarke is staying at Fratton Park permanently having spent an impressive spell on loan from Ipswich last term.

As part of a deal which also netted the Blues around £700,000, Adam Webster moved to Portman Road in part-exchange.

In terms of permanent members of the first-team, only Brian Murphy has left since last season.

Danny Hollands and Ben Davies remain in talks after Cook indicated he wanted them to remain.