Cook: Judge Pompey on promotion progress not cup results

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
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Paul Cook insisted: Judge us on promotion – not cup progress.

Pompey have come under fire after their awful FA Cup elimination to Wycombe Wanderers at the weekend.

Last year I felt we got embroiled in cup competitions which had a derogatory effect on our league

Paul Cook

Cook has also been scathing of his team’s display in the 2-1 defeat, labelling the first half the worst of his tenure.

The Blues face Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy tonight (7.45pm), with a win not guaranteed to maintain their involvement in the competition.

But the Pompey boss has reiterated his primary objective remains winning promotion from League Two.

And that issue will solely dictate how his Blues tenure is remembered.

Cook said: ‘If we were to get to the fifth round of the cup and not get to the play-offs do you think I would keep my job?

‘It is about promotion, without a doubt. Full stop.

‘How many people remember your cup runs as a manager? Nigel Clough got Sheffield United to Wembley and was still sacked.

‘Everyone knows the rules for the Pompey manager.

‘Every club is different. Portsmouth Football Club has a main criteria to try to get out of this league and be promoted.

‘The more obstacles in the way of that, such as cups, can hinder, that is just the way it is.

‘Last year in the FA Cup we drew at Ipswich, before beating them at home, and did well against Bournemouth – but we never got promoted.

‘If we lose to Mansfield and then win at Luton and Cheltenham then what? We have lost four or five games at home but could be third in the league.

‘We haven’t had good results at home, but had fantastic results away from home.

If you take the Plymouth equaliser out of the equation we would have two more points, but still three defeats at Fratton Park.

‘You will be judged on your points tally this year, it doesn’t matter where you get them. It doesn’t matter.’

Last season Pompey reached the second round of the Capital One Cup and the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Yet Cook is convinced the Blues’ FA Cup progress, coupled with the timing of rearranged games, hampered their league ambitions.

He added: ‘Last year I felt we got embroiled in cup competitions which had a derogatory effect on our league.

‘When you are travelling to Morecambe and Accrington on Mondays for a Tuesday night game it is not good.

‘At Chesterfield, we once got back from Plymouth at 5am and had to play a day-and-a-half later.

‘A cup competition, while it is a fantastic distraction, can become a distraction.

‘We are a League Two team, we finished sixth in League Two last year, this year we are fifth, last year we had fantastic cup runs, this year we are having none.

‘You are in November, we have played 15 league games. None of us know what is going to happen in the future.’