Cook tasting home delights while team-mates travel

Kane Cook
Kane Cook
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Kane Cook has missed out while the rest of his team-mates have embarked on a Pompey trip of a lifetime.

But the 17-year-old has far more pressing matters on his mind as he bids to win his latest fitness fight.

And Paul Hardyman has been impressed by the stranded-at-home midfielder’s attitude.

On Monday, Andy Awford and six of his second-year scholars flew out to Nigeria for a five-a-side tournament at the Eko Football Festival.

The competition is being held in Lagos, with the Pompey squad scheduled to return in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Adam Webster’s on-going first-team commitments ensured he was not in the running for Awford’s jet-setting squad.

Meanwhile, injury accounted for the absence of Cook, sidelining him as Jack Maloney, Josh Warren, Nick Awford, Liam Triggs, James Hartson and George Branford journeyed to Nigeria.

The Basingstoke youngster dislocated his shoulder during the second match of the pre-season programme this summer.

It required an operation two weeks ago and he is not expected to return to action until around Christmas.

It’s the latest setback for the injury-hit Cook, who last season had the same problem – along with an Achilles complaint.

Nonetheless, Hardyman has been delighted with his determination to return from his latest blow.

The Academy’s head of coaching said: ‘The squad flew out to Nigeria on Monday night and they’ll be playing today and tomorrow.

‘For the second years it is a great opportunity to be playing in a tournament, as well as getting a few life skills.

‘Unfortunately for Kane, he’s had to stay behind and do the dishes!

‘He originally dislocated his shoulder against Leicester in April and recovered to return in pre-season and train as normal.

‘Then in the second friendly – against Brighton – he showed good attitude to get back and make a tackle but landed slightly awkwardly and it popped out again.

‘That has since been assessed and there was an operation two weeks ago and he is going to miss the season up until Christmas.

‘Kane is now coming in with the first years and working hard in the gym.

‘It’s disappointing because he missed a large chunk of last season with injuries. He’s had a rough ride of it, poor lad.

‘He’s a left-winger who has a bit of pace about him but we have not been able to see it too often because of his lack of time on the training field.

‘I’m sure he’ll be back, though, looking to fulfil his dream of being a professional footballer.’

The Academy, who drew 1-1 at Southend last Saturday, are without a match this weekend.