Pompey boss expecting more attacking might

Paul Cook is bracing himself for a surge in attacking power as he seeks to fire Pompey out of League Two.

Tuesday, 28th June 2016, 6:01 am
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues scored 75 league goals last term – the fourth highest in the division – as they finished sixth.

Yet, worryingly, eight teams managed to depart Fratton Park with their defences intact.

The requirement for greater creativity has seen Cook recruit Carl Baker and Milan Lalkovic – in addition to transfer-listing Kal Naismith and Adam McGurk.

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They represent fine-tuning to his attacking-midfield options.

And the Pompey boss is convinced his side will ooze more goals as a direct result.

He said: ‘I feel in those areas of the pitch we now have the quality of players to hurt teams more.

‘We have needed a greater attacking threat in the final third, certainly at home we will play with more potency in our formation. We now have the depth of players to do that.

‘We have the people who want to retain possession in terms of Gary Roberts, Kyle Bennett and Carl Baker. In Gareth Evans, Ben Tollitt and Lalkovic we have players who want to penetrate the possession.

‘I believe the ingredients are there to get us where we want to go.

‘I always felt last year teams made a substitution or two stronger than us. If you look at the Plymouth second game we were done and since that match I have never heard a complaint from a Portsmouth fan about that defeat, everyone appreciated we were done.

‘This time now we won’t be done. If we get beat it won’t be because we are done. We are getting stronger and stronger.

‘There were times when Roberts was injured so Bennett had to shoulder too much responsibility in our team, and I felt Kyle had an outstanding season – he is an absolutely top-drawer player.

‘Roberts never played for us enough – now all of a sudden we have Baker and Lalkovic coming in adding to all the players we have.

‘We now have the depth of squad with quality and will have more attacking players on the pitch, especially at Fratton.

‘Our away form is no problem at all, I would rate us 8/9 out of 10. The home form is 5/6 out of 10 for me and clearly where we have to improve.’

Struggling to break sides down at Fratton Park has become an issue.

And Cook believes the Euros are currently highlighting that same frustration.

He added: ‘People always think to break teams down it is a big man, balls forward quick and two up front.

‘But it is about quality of player, quality of possession, it is about decisions you make in the final third,

‘Everyone watching the Euros will appreciate now how difficult it is to break teams down. Everywhere I go people are saying it’s like watching Pompey!’