EOIN DOYLE still has a ‘massive’ part to play in Pompey’s promotion push.
That is the verdict of Paul Cook after the striker’s latest blank at Crawley.
The Blues triumphed 2-0 to break into the automatic promotion spots for the first time since September.
However, Doyle continues to struggle in front of goal, despite his excellent work-rate.
The loanee had the opportunity to register his second goal for Pompey after Enda Stevens won a second-half penalty at the Broadfield Stadium.
However, his 53rd-minute spot-kick was comfortably saved by keeper Glenn Morris.
It means Doyle has now scored once in eight appearances since his transfer deadline day arrival from Preston.
But Cook retains faith in a player he has now managed at three different clubs.
He said: ‘Eoin Doyle is one of my favourite players that I like, he’ll be devastated about Crawley.
‘He had a great chance and a penalty, Eoin feels it, he works dead hard, I enjoy Eoin and he has a massive part to play for us.
‘He will never let anyone down, he is such a good lad.’
Michael Smith moved on loan to Northampton for regular first-team football following Doyle’s arrival.
He has since scored once in eight appearances – precisely the same amount as the man who effectively replaced him at Fratton Park.
Smith opened his Cobblers account in last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Charlton in League One.
Meanwhile, Doyle’s sole strike came in last month’s 2-0 victory over Blackpool at Fratton Park.
The Irishman has also netted three times in 15 appearances for parent club Preston this season.
– NEIL ALLEN