Pompey planning changes for Newport

Kal Naismith. Picture: Joe Pepler
Kal Naismith. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey midfielder Ton Naylor Picture: Joe Pepler

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Paul Cook has pencilled in changes for the Boxing Day trip to Newport County.

The Blues boss had long planned alterations to his starting line-up during the festive period’s heavy fixture list.

It is an approach he admitted in the build-up to the weekend’s disappointing Fratton Park draw with Hartlepool.

Now Cook will ring the changes for Rodney Parade, with the out-of-sorts Gary Roberts most under threat.

Kal Naismith is also due a place in Pompey’s line-up following his good form of late, while Milan Lalkovic remains an option.

Regardless, Cook believes his playing squad possesses the talent and flexibility to earn results from a spell of four matches in 11 days.

And he also concedes there may be a switch from his favoured 4-2-3-1 along the way.

He said: ‘We feel within the group of players we have versatility and we will see it over the Christmas period when we change a team or two around.

‘We can adapt, within our group we can be ugly, we can play 4-4-2, we can be big and strong, we can do anything anyone wants.

‘The reality is I have kept us on one page because I have great faith in that way of playing and have not seen anything within that system I think has cost us games.

‘For example, against Stevenage and Notts County I didn’t think it was about the formation.

‘If I felt it was the formation I would change.

‘I will say to people over Christmas they will see us certainly change formation.’

Hartlepool represented the same Pompey starting XI for a fourth successive match.

Cook also named an unchanged substitutes’ bench for a third game in a row, following Jack Whatmough’s recent injury.