Cook recruits old boys for additional Pompey pre-season fixture

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Pompey announced sixth pre-season fixture with visit of Coventry on July 21
  • Match to take place at Westleigh Park
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Paul Cook admitted his Coventry City connections helped clinch the fixture to complete Pompey’s pre-season programme.

The Blues have announced a match with Tony Mowbray’s League One side on Tuesday, July 21.

Tony Mowbray and Mark Venus are good lads, I am sure Coventry will play a good brand of football under them and it’s a game I am very much looking forward to

Paul Cook

The encounter will take place at Westleigh Park, with Fratton Park not yet ready to host games following summer work on the pitch.

For Pompey, the Sky Blues match represents a sixth fixture in their schedule ahead of the all-important August 8 League Two kick-off.

Cook had been eager to introduce an additional date to a programme largely put together by the previous management regime.

And the club he made 43 appearances for from August 1994 until February 1996 have now filled the void.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘It was important to get another game, you can train and work as much as you want but you need matches.

‘Coventry are a good side, they are a professional team, Tony Mowbray is in charge and it will be a really big test for us – a test of where we are at and how good we are.

‘That will be a good one for our supporters to come and see.

‘It came about a little bit through my links there as a player and I know Steve Ogrizovic who is still there.

‘I actually think Steve believed it would be an easy friendly to come down for – because that is what I told him!

‘Tony Mowbray and Mark Venus are good lads, I am sure Coventry will play a good brand of football under them and it’s a game I am very much looking forward to.

‘It’s good for Havant as well because they will get a bit of revenue, while we are building up our relationships with the people there which is great.

‘You only have to look at the quality of the pitch to know it is a pleasure to play there.’

Pompey’s pre-season fixtures began on Saturday with a 1-1 draw at the Hawks.

Adrian Clifton gave the hosts a 21st-minute lead when he headed home Ben Swallow’s right-wing cross.

Michael Doyle, one of 10 half-time substitutes, levelled for the Blues in the 48th minute with a left-foot shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Despite a strong second-half display, Cook’s men failed to take advantage of several gilt-edged opportunities and were held to a 1-1 draw.

Their next match is at Bognor Regis Town on Friday (July 17).

The following day (July 18) they head to Gosport Borough for their third friendly.

Next up is the Coventry clash taking place at Westleigh Park (7.30pm).

Woking (July 24) and Gillingham (August 1) complete the first-team schedule ahead of the August 8 visit of Dagenham & Redbridge.

There is also a trip to Burnham on Tuesday, August 4, although this has been advertised as a Pompey XI presence.