Cook’s feeling thrill of Pompey ride

Pompey boss Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Smith, left, in action for Bury this season Picture: Sharon Lucey

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Paul Cook has told how he’s feeling the buzz of managing Pompey.

And the Blues boss has called for his men to embrace the pressure of the season’s finale.

Cook wants his players to tackle the final 12 games of the campaign with a smile.

He believes now is the time for his club to reap the rewards of 22 months of his managerial tenure at Fratton Park.

The Pompey manager has sensed the anticipation mounting as his side’s bid for promotion gathers pace this term.

Before the weekend clash with Crewe, Cook’s side were five games unbeaten – boosting their hopes of making the top three.

He reckons his team are now entering an exciting period which is what being in football is all about.

Cook believes that’s something Pompey need to work with and not push against.

And, after some testing moments in his tenure, he’s now doing that vibrantly himself.

He said: ‘Everyone’s watching us come with this run now.

‘Everyone’s expecting us to come with this run. Everyone wants us to.

‘It’s up to the players now to go and grasp it.

‘The continuous question has been can we go into the top three?

‘Everything’s the same at this club. I said to Leam (Richardson), how can we not create pressure? You can’t. It’s impossible not to here.

‘If we win the next game we’re creating it. So we’ve got to enjoy and embrace it.

‘I enjoy my time here. I enjoy my time as manager. I genuinely do.

‘As a manager I want to enjoy it, I want my staff to enjoy it and I want my players to enjoy this run-in.

‘It’s exactly where we’re at now.

‘At the end of the day I want us to say we couldn’t do anymore. Once we’ve said that it’s not an issue.’

Cook highlighted the unglamorous and, sometimes, unpleasant work he’s had to go through in his managerial tenure.

The Scouser feels that has now taken his squad to a place where they are prepared for what they will face over the run-in.

Now, it’s all about doing everything possible to ensure the benefits of that are enjoyed over the remaining nine weeks of the season.

Cook said: ‘When you go through the first summer of putting the teams together and releasing lads, there’s a lot of unpopular decisions.

‘But I think in our time here now it’s important.

‘When I look at how we played on Tuesday I enjoyed it. I feel a lot of the work has been done. Now we must reap the benefits of that.

‘We’ve got to do it. Only time will tell if that happens.

‘It’s not me being clever. If we get promoted or end up in the play-offs that’s life. I’ll accept what comes.

‘But we’ve got a great chance now and we have to try to grasp it.

‘We’ve got to give our fans that energy now.

‘They want that. We know that. We feel that within them at Carlisle.

‘Our fans need it now. We’ve got to give the fans that energy.’