Doyle blow hands Pompey boss poser

Injured striker Eoin Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler
Injured striker Eoin Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey midfielder Danny Rose: Joe Pepler

Pompey first-team players set to feature at Gosport

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PAUL COOK is weighing up how to maintain Pompey’s striking threat as the promotion bandwagon continues.

The Blues go to Hartlepool tomorrow with Eoin Doyle facing a stint on the sidelines, after he picked up a groin injury against Newport.

The Irishman has undergone a scan and Cook admitted the outlook ‘doesn’t look great’ for the 29-year-old.

That leaves the Pompey boss considering how to replace Doyle at Victoria Park.

Nicke Kabamba, Conor Chaplin and Noel Hunt are all options, but it’s too early for Curtis Main to be considered after his return to training.

Using Kal Naismith as an out-and-out front man is another option Cook is weighing up.

The manager said: ‘There isn’t a like-for-like replacement at our club for Eoin.

‘Within it, all our forward lads would have an argument to play.

‘Kabamba would have a case, Noel Hunt does, too, and we’ve won a lot of games with Conor Chaplin in the side.

‘One of the other options we have is playing Kal Naismith as a number nine.

‘We’d have no problem doing that. With his attributes he could do it comfortably.

‘He could do that quite naturally and we did that at Chesterfield with Sam Clucas.

‘Curtis Main is now back training. We have options and we’re fine with it.

‘We’re okay and not in a position where we’re concerned.

‘We’re focused on what we do, and, as a group.

‘It’s important lads get time. If we do something now and it doesn’t work it’s important we don’t change.

‘We have to make the decision we believe is right for the team.’

Doyle has started every game for Pompey since arriving on loan from Preston at the end of the January transfer window.

Two goals have arrived in 11 appearances, but Cook highlighted the striker’s impact on players around him – and feels that will be missed.

‘It doesn’t look great and that’s a massive disappointment for us,’ added Cook.

‘It’s not just what he does as a player, it’s his effect on a team.

‘He’s a team player and he was doing that to a tee.

‘It’s a disappointment, but it will offer a chance for someone else.

‘All strikers at every level are different. Eoin is comfortable stretching the game and runs in behind people.

‘If you do that at this level people stop pushing up the pitch and drop deeper and deeper. That allows our midfield more space to play.

‘You seen the benefits of Eoin’s unselfish work to the Kyle Bennetts and Kal Naismiths. A lot of that goes unnoticed.

‘There’s the lead-your-line striker, the mobile striker who runs in behind, and your natural goalscorer.

‘If you get the three of them in one body they’re worth £3m straightaway.’