PAUL COOK is to bring forward Pompey’s pre-season start – to enable his players to holiday together.
The Blues boss has already instigated a major overhaul of the squad he has inherited.
There is no magic wand or a special formula, pre-season is about hard work, it doesn’t matter what work you do, it’s hardPaul Cook
Now he is eyeing a three-day stay in Portugal to assist in team bonding for what will be a much-changed playing set-up.
The trip will take place in the days before the official return to pre-season training on Monday, June 29.
And Cook believes the break can be crucial preparation for what he hopes will be a promotion campaign.
He said: ‘We are hoping to take the lads abroad pre pre-season as a way of getting them away together to get to know each other, especially with a few new lads and new staff.
‘A six-week programme has already been put into place but we want to amend it with one or two small alterations, nothing major.
‘There is no magic wand or a special formula, pre-season is about hard work, it doesn’t matter what work you do, it’s hard.
‘As part of that we are looking at a little break before we come back, two or three days away in somewhere like Portugal where we can have a game of golf, have a nice beer, just bonding.
‘It is also about laying out the plans for the season to the players, setting out really important targets and what we believe we must do to achieve them and the sacrifices we must make.
‘It’s all the normal stuff I believe modern day footballers must follow to be successful.
‘And hopefully the chairman will cover it – he was on holiday there last week!’
In terms of pre-season friendlies, the Blues have already lined up the Hawks (Saturday, July 11) and Bognor (Friday, July 17).
In addition, a Pompey XI will travel to Burnham on August 4 as part of a long-standing agreement following the deal which took Ryan Bird to Fratton Park in July 2013.
Another in the frame is Gosport Borough, as the Blues seek to play six first-team matches, all of which will be away from Fratton Park.
Last summer under Andy Awford, in addition to the Hawks and Bognor they faced Thurrock, Ebbsfleet, Bournemouth and Charlton.
The July trip to Ebbsfleet produced a shock 3-0 defeat for the visitors, despite having a full-strength squad on display.
And for Cook, pre-season results will remain irrelevant.
He added: ‘We will go with what is already in place, the pitch won’t be ready so there will be six away games.
‘The most important thing is we will use the friendlies to practice what we are trying to do, the results will be irrelevant for me.
‘We will be working on certain aspects, especially against the lower league teams we come up against.
‘It won’t be a case of turning up and saying “let’s win 6-0”. It might be a case of turning up and we’ll defend by keeping on giving the opposition the ball back so we can learn the game.
‘The most important one is the first game of the season.’