Pompey in Hunt for striker

Paul Cook pinpointed Noel Hunt as the type of character he wants at Pompey.

Thursday, 14th July 2016, 6:01 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:29 pm
Noel Hunt slides in to score against the Hawks. Picture: Joe Pepler

Hunt was on the scoresheet for the Blues as they romped to a 5-0 win at the Hawks last night.

The 33-year-old was a surprise inclusion in Paul Cook’s squad after leaving Southend United.

Hunt made his mark in a second-half runout at Westleigh Park – getting on the scoresheet 12 minutes after entering the fray.

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Cook is keen on the former Republic of Ireland international as he completes his squad reshaping.

With Matt Tubbs leaving for Forest Green Rovers there is now extra manoeuvrability to bring in new faces.

Hunt looks in line to be one of them after rejecting two offers to remain at Roots Hall.

The striker endured injury troubles with the Shrimpers last term as he struggled with an ankle problem and a succession of impact injuries.

He was still a wanted man by Southend boss Phil Brown, however.

Hunt’s CV makes for impressive reading with stop-offs at the likes of Dundee United, Reading, Leeds and Ipswich.

He grabbed four goals in 14 starts last term, with a further eight appearances coming off the bench.

Cook feels he brings exactly the kind of attitude he’s looking to add to squad.

The manager said: ‘Noel’s not on trial. He’s been a top-class pro his whole career.

‘Noel’s one of those lads where we will see where it goes with them. At the moment he’s just getting fit.

‘There’s no doubt, though, he’s a great lad to have around the club.

‘If he can have an effect on some of the younger lads as well it all goes into the mix.

‘We want our fans to have people they can identify with.

‘We don’t want that distant footballer stereotype where we don’t know them.

‘Noel’s certainly the type of character you want about the place.’

Two Carl Baker goals – the one a spectacular 30-yarder – along with efforts from Gary Roberts, Curtis Main and Hunt did the damage against Hawks.

Main also went close to getting a second in a 21-minute outing with a 25-yard piledriver which came back off the post.

With other players to come back, Cook is happy his squad is now overflowing with attacking options.

He said: ‘When you have Curtis Main coming on like that it’s good news.

‘The reason we signed him is because he can hit shots like that. They are like missiles.

‘I feel for me the squad is getting stronger. I believe we are getting more firepower.

‘We have the likes of Kyle Bennett, Gareth Evans and Michael Smith not even involved. That augurs well for us moving forward.

‘We just keep going and keep looking.

‘If players become available, you know we will be in the market for good players.’