Pompey boss' praise for Ben Davies

Paul Cook has paid tribute to the departing Ben Davies.

Friday, 24th June 2016, 8:30 am
Ben Davies Picture: Joe Pepler

The veteran right-back will no longer be at Fratton Park after a new deal could not be agreed.

He made 51 appearances for the Blues last season, establishing himself as a fans’ favourite.

Cook wanted to keep Davies, yet acknowledges ultimately it was not possible in the opinion of both parties.

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Regardless, he has praised the ex-Sheffield United player’s contribution during his time at Pompey.

He said: ‘Ben was outstanding, hence I was trying to get him a new deal at Christmas.

‘I can only try, but budgets and money at every club plays a part.

‘We’ve been trying to get something sorted, that’s the truth of it, and obviously haven’t been able to agree on a deal.

‘Ben had an outstanding season, though, won plenty of player-of-the-year awards and did great for this football club.

‘We brought Kieron Freeman in during the second half of the season because it’s hard for anyone to play the amount of games Ben did.

‘Great credit to Ben and Enda Stevens playing 50-odd games, it’s a massive pat on the back for them.

‘From my point of view, his age would always be a concern because eventually it will catch up.

‘It hasn’t yet, I stress that, but eventually it will and it was always felt we had to spend money in that area.

‘Unfortunately we have not been able to reach agreement with Ben, so as we stand at the minute there is nothing.’

Talks have also taken place with Danny Hollands over prolonging his Fratton Park stay.

The midfielder became one of the club’s top earners when he arrived in the summer of 2014 from Charlton.

He must take a pay cut to remain with the Blues and negotiations continue.

Cook added: ‘Both Danny and Ben have been fantastic for this football club.

‘Contract talks are ongoing with Danny. He has been made an offer and it is within his rights to turn that down.

‘There has not been an amicable settlement yet, it is ongoing.

‘I would like to keep everyone but football doesn’t work like that.

‘We have made Danny an offer, that is the reality of it.’

Meanwhile, Pompey’s transfer-listed trio are expected to attend Tuesday’s return to pre-season training.

Matt Tubbs, Kal Naismith and Adam McGurk were made available for transfer last month after the Blues missed out on the League Two play-off final.

Tubbs – who spent the second half of the season on loan at Eastleigh, scoring twice – has 12 months remaining on his deal.

Naismith and McGurk were involved in the two-legged play-off defeat against Plymouth.

Both arrived last summer, with McGurk having 12-months left and Naismith two-years remaining.