PAUL COOK heard the cry for change coming.
That’s because the Pompey boss has been in the position before.
We trained on the Friday morning against the kids and they were 3-0 up against us after eight minutes!Paul Cook
The clamour for a switch in formation which has gathered in the wake of four home games without a win has a familiar ring to it for Cook.
It was a scenario which reared its head in the Scouser’s time in charge of Chesterfield.
Despite a League Two title and charge to the play-offs in League One last term, Cook’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation wasn’t without its critics at the ProAct Stadium.
That made the cries for playing two men up top a favourite shout for the doubters after any drop in results.
After four defeats on the spin last term, those murmurs had grown into a crescendo.
‘We lost four games on the bounce last season at Chesterfield,’ Cook explained, when remembering the February losses.
‘So I took an extra day off and came back in. I was going to change the formation to go three at the back.
‘We were playing Fleetwood at home on the Saturday. We trained on the Friday morning against the kids and they were 3-0 up against us after eight minutes!
‘We reverted back to what we were doing – and we won 3-0 the next day.’
Pompey return to their travels when they go to Notts County this weekend.
Another win would ensure they have the best away record in the country.
Walsall, in League One, currently have the best return with 18 points from eight games. Pompey, meanwhile, have 17 points from seven fixtures on the road.
Despite the difference in results home and away, Cook stated his team’s philosophy remains the same at Fratton Park as on their travels.
‘I think moving forward, although people will get a bit miffed at the lack of home wins, we’re logically where we are,’ said Cook.
‘You can’t have the best away record in the country and then have that at home.
‘We play the same way. We don’t change when we go away.
‘With the greatest respect, the opponents are just another team.
‘Stevenage didn’t play with two up the other day. That’s the annoying thing – teams will change to nullify us.
‘But, by the end of the season, if we stay the same we’ll be promoted.’
Despite failing to create a huge amount of chances against Mansfield last Saturday, Pompey still had 13 shots on goal to the Stags’ three.
It was a similar story in the clash against Stevenage Borough, with 20 shots compared to the six from Teddy Sheringham’s side.
Cook feels it’s tinkering with the formula rather than wholesale changes that is needed.
He added: ‘We need to be a bit braver. Taking a few more risks in possession of the ball and being a bit more clinical.
‘In the situations we are getting in we should score.
‘But I enjoy the work ethic of our players.
‘They give everything they’ve got and they are as disappointed as the rest of us when the results don’t go the way they want.