Pompey will not be taking Hartlepool for granted.
That’s the message from Blues boss Paul Cook as his fourth-placed side welcome the Pools to Fratton Park tomorrow (3pm).
Craig Hignett’s men are battling at the other end of the table and arrive on the south coast off the back of a 5-0 home thumping by Cambridge.
Cook, though, only has to look at Pompey’s own last home outing as reason for caution, with mid-table Stevenage providing a Fratton Park upset in a shock 2-1 defeat.
And the Blues boss insists the visitors have no ‘duck eggs’ within their ranks, with plenty of players at their disposal to pose a threat this weekend.
‘You write teams off at your absolute peril in football,’ said Cook.
‘Hartlepool have some really good players.
‘Billy Paynter and Pádraig Amond at the top end of the pitch and then Nathan Thomas as well, if he is fit – lads like that.
‘These are really good players who are proven at this level and can hurt any team.
‘Nicky Featherstone in the middle of the park and Matthew Bates and Toto Nsiala at the back – you can go right through the team.
‘These are no duck eggs, these are strong players.’
Cook is also refusing to read anything into his opponents’ poor result last time out.
And he has pointed to league-leaders Plymouth’s shock defeat to Grimsby last month and the Blues’ loss to The Boro as examples of the unpredictability of League Two.
‘Hartlepool had a bad week last week but we have seen many a team in this division do that,’ added the manager.
‘Plymouth lost 3-0 to Grimsby – everyone can have them.
‘The Stevenage game for us was a really poor day for us all – not just me, the supporters, the players, everyone.
‘That’s why coming off the pitch at Grimsby last weekend was very satisfying – it was a really good win.
‘You’ve got to just keep working hard, getting your points on the board and not make any excuses.’
– JEFF MARSHMAN