Cook plays down Pompey right-back change

Gareth Evans has started the past nine league games at right-back Picture: Joe Pepler
Gareth Evans has started the past nine league games at right-back Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey new face Anton Walkes. Picture Portsmouth Football Club

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Paul Cook has played down the necessity for an immediate right-back change.

Pompey head to the Abbey Stadium tomorrow with a clean bill of health in their first-team squad.

It means the all-clear for Enda Stevens, who was substituted against Notts County with a hamstring concern.

Right-backs Adam Buxton and Drew Talbot are also available to put pressure on stand-in Gareth Evans.

The midfielder has started Pompey’s past nine league matches in the unfamiliar role following injuries to Buxton and Talbot.

The Blues’ defence has been brittle in recent weeks, with repeated individual mistakes proving costly.

However, Cook insists he is in no rush to change his right-back personnel.

He said: ‘If I felt like playing Drew (Talbot) then yes he is ready, without a doubt.

‘Gareth has been right-back and will always come under a little bit of criticism if it doesn’t work.

‘But you think of how many times have we been skinned with goals coming from crosses and you know that has not been an issue.

‘You can end up looking too much for what your issues are, that’s the truth.

‘We felt when we came back from Plymouth we felt we were about to do really well.

‘Watching the Notts County DVD back, if somebody said after 40 minutes we were going to get beat you would look at them funny.

‘Those margins are there and my job as manager is to make sure we get that little bit of aggression into both boxes.’

Meanwhile, Stevens will line-up at left-back for Cook at Cambridge.

The manager added: ‘Enda is fine, we are all good to go.

‘He just felt his hammy so we took him off.’