Amine Linganzi has thanked Paul Cook for not holding a grudge with him after being handed an opportunity to impress at Pompey.
Linganzi was an unused substitute in Tuesday night’s 2-0 defeat at Morecambe as he bids to earn an extended stay with the Blues.
The Congolese international midfielder is midway through an initial one-month deal with the Fratton Park club – three years after turning down the chance to play for Cook at Chesterfield.
Linganzi had earned rave reviews after impressing for Pompey assistant boss Leam Richardson at Accrington, with Cook keen to recruit the former Blackburn man to what proved to be a League Two title-winning Spireites squad.
A move to League One Gillingham won the day, though, with its closer proximity and transport links to family in France a motivating factor.
Linganzi, though, is eager to make up for lost time and repay the faith shown in him by Cook.
He said: ‘When I was released from my contract with Blackburn I went to play for Accrington.
‘Paul Cook was sat in the stands watching me and I had the opportunity to sign with him at Chesterfield.
‘But that 2012-13 season I played against Gillingham and they got promoted, so I just went with them to League One.
‘Fair play to the gaffer because some people would just say “he didn’t come then so I am not going to take him now”.
‘But the gaffer just opened his arms and welcomed me very well.’
For Cook, it made sense to give another chance to a player he has long admired.
The manager said: ‘I looked at him a couple of times.
‘He was at Blackburn and then he played for Leam at Accrington, where he was outstanding.
‘He was a big-name player at that time.
‘But he wanted to be nearer to his family in France so he chose to go to Gillingham over Chesterfield.
‘It never worked out for him at Gillingham but what happened there will remain between them.
‘We have signed him on a month’s contract just to have a look at him because he is obviously a very good player.’
Linganzi impressed on his Pompey bow, claiming man-of-the-match honours in the EFL Cup defeat to Coventry.
The 26-year-old played in a defensive-midfield role and Cook believes he offers good back-up to starting duo Michael Doyle and Danny Rose.
The position itself is under scrutiny, though, with the Blues boss weighing up whether using two holding midfielders in his starting XI is excessive.
Cook added: ‘Amine will get better with games – we are certainly going to have a look at him.
‘We have obviously got Michael Doyle and Danny Rose at the minute.
‘But if anything happened to them we would be right down to Ben Close and Adam May – they are both still young lads.
‘Do we really need defensive midfielders? That’s one of the questions most people who go to Fratton Park will ask.
‘We know we play with two – the reality is that we don’t need two.
‘But the reason why we do certain stuff is because of the team’s shape.’