Pompey boss must not make same second summer mistakes as his predecessor

Kenny Jackett, right, and Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Kenny Jackett, right, and Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Mark Catlin has described the pair as polar opposites.

And he’s not wrong.

Pompey’s past two managers are starkly contrasting. Paul Cook and Kenny Jackett couldn’t be much different.

The former was passionate and his emotions could get the better of him at times.

On the other hand, Jackett is pragmatic, straight-laced and rarely loses his temper.

No-one can argue which is the right or wrong way.

They have both proven they can deliver results at this level.

Jackett is, of course, looking to follow in Cook’s footsteps and deliver promotion at Fratton Park.

His predecessor didn’t make many mistakes during his Blues reign.

One minor criticism you could make of Cook, though, was his recruitment during his second summer at the helm.

Granted, the outcome at the end of the campaign was that he yielded the League Two crown.

However, if Cook had recruited better, the title race may not have gone to the final day of the campaign. If Cook did not sign so adeptly in his early days, Pompey may even have missed out on automatic promotion in 2017 – never mind winning the title.

In his first summer, the boss brought in Enda Stevens, Christian Burgess, Matt Clarke, Michael Doyle, Gary Roberts, Gareth Evans, Kal Naismith and Kyle Bennett.

All of those were key figures on the road to the League Two crown.

However, only three of his signings ahead of that memorable campaign can be counted as successes.

David Forde, Danny Rose and Carl Baker made a combined 129 appearances between them and all started in that emphatic 6-1 final-day victory over Cheltenham Town.

Yet the other nine faces who arrived that second summer did not make much of an impact.

Amine Linganzi and Tom Davies can be counted as maybes – featuring 19 and 13 times respectively.

But the seven others flattered to deceive.

Curtis Main arrived from League One looking to fill the boots of Marc McNulty.

However, he managed just 14 appearances, registering five times. Injuries meant he did not feature after October 22.

The much-maligned Michael Smith also endured a difficult time after making his move from Barnsley permanent. He was loaned to Northampton in January.

Milan Lalkovic suffered a similar fate and was shipped out to Ross County in the same month.

Meanwhile, Drew Talbot didn’t make a league appearance after August 27.

Then there was Adam Buxton, Dominic Hyam and Liam O’Brien. The trio didn’t make a league appearance between them.

As Jackett failed to guide Pompey into the play-offs during his first season in charge, it means this summer’s recruitment is more crucial – especially given the meek finish to last term. So far, it looks like he’s started to fill round holes with round pegs, recruiting a mixture of hungry, young players and experienced heads.

However, after an eighth-place finish last campaign, significant improvements are needed.

And that will mean his recruitment this summer will be pivotal.