PAUL COOK faced up to the task of rejuvenating Pompey and promised: My eyes are wide open.
And the Blues boss admitted he could have a problem with the club’s contracted players, as he aims to shake up the club’s fortunes.
Maybe it’s some of the ones who are still under contract who could be the problem.Paul Cook
Cook has been quick to put into action his plans for taking his new club out of League Two next season.
That has included removing four staff from the senior set-up and bringing in assistant manager Leam Richardson and first-team coach Ian Foster.
The 48-year-old delivered an emphatic assessment of his options last week, as he released nine of the club’s 11 out-of-contract players.
But he admitted that may have been harsh on those who were shown the door.
After starting his job, Cook stated he isn’t surprised by what’s greeted him at Fratton Park.
And he hinted the safety of contracts may be protecting players who remain at the club.
Cook said: ‘Maybe it was unfair on the nine lads.
‘Any of the lads could have been out of contract. It’s the way it falls sometimes.
‘If you were one of the nine it could have been seen as an opportunity to use their money to bring others in.
‘But maybe it’s some of the ones who are still under contract who could be the problem.
‘My eyes are wide open.
‘It doesn’t surprise me what I’ve seen so far. It’s pretty much what I knew.
‘There are things I want to look for right away and want to see.
‘You want to look at how the lads train and how many training days have they missed?
‘You look for things like that because they are key stats in performance.
‘If you see imbalances within that, there’s a problem.’
Supporters look set to see another busy summer unfold off the pitch after Cook replaced Andy Awford as manager.
On top of the released players, Jed Wallace has departed for Wolves after they actioned a release clause in his contract for around £275,000.
With space freed up, Cook is confident of soon bringing in new faces.
Kyle Bennett has arrived after leaving Doncaster Rovers and Cook has admitted his interest in midfielder Jimmy Ryan, who is out of contract.
Left-back Enda Stevens and Chesterfield’s Gary Roberts are other names in the frame.
Cook said: ‘When you are at a good club, things function.
‘You’d like to think next summer we’d need one or two players.
‘We’d then have a lovely peaceful off season.
‘Unfortunately, because of the lack of success at the club, there seems to be a lot more major work going on.
‘We want to get to a point, as a club, where there isn’t a lot of major work needed.’