Pompey boss has no qualms over deputy Davies
Paul Cook has no qualms over handing Tom Davies the task of replacing Christian Burgess.
Burgess misses tomorrow’s visit of Newport County as he serves a one-match ban following his dismissal at Stevenage.
Davies also played in that game, serving as part of a back three introduced for the Lamex Stadium encounter.
With Burgess out and Jack Whatmough not ready to feature following a hamstring injury, the former Accrington player will tomorrow partner Matt Clarke in the centre of defence.
It will be Davies’ first home league start since the October 22 defeat to Notts County at Fratton Park.
But his manager possesses belief the defender can rise to the challenge.
He said: ‘Davies will start.
‘All our lads have been patient, Kal Naismith has been as patient as anyone, that’s what you get with a good squad.
‘I think Tom is an outstanding young centre-half and he will be a little bit disappointed about the amount of game time, but that comes back on the Burgess/Clarke partnership.
‘He gets an opportunity tomorrow, and picking Tom I don’t blink. He played early season at the likes of Plymouth and Exeter, he is a very good centre-half.
‘I would expect any of our players to perform, that is what squads are for, you don’t just have a great starting XI.
‘If Bennett and Naismith don’t make it, I think it is quite obvious to everyone we would be playing a different formation to the one last Saturday – and have the personnel to do it.
‘If someone is in front of you then you have to get past them. The best way to get past anyone is to train hard, work hard, and when you get the opportunity play well.
‘Tom will get that against Newport tomorrow.’
Davies has made 15 appearances since arriving from Accrington in the summer.
He partnered Burgess earlier in the season following injury to Jack Whatmough, while Clarke was feeling his way back from a groin problem.
However, his recent appearances have mainly be restricted to the reserves.
Cook added: ‘We have a good squad, just look at the reserves’ result on Monday night.
‘I don’t think people realise how well those kids have done, to get to the quarter-finals, it’s a fantastic achievement.
‘They have mucked in together and it’s a great achievement, our squad is strong.’