Pompey target embodies the qualities Cook wants

Pompey target Carl Baker
Pompey target Carl Baker
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Pompey boss Paul Cook has voiced a demand for players he can trust next season.

Cook is planning to develop a team of proper football men.

Hardened players with the CV which shows they can shoulder expectancy.

Step forward Carl Baker as the embodiment of those characteristics.

Baker is wanted by Cook to be a cornerstone of his team’s effort to become the real deal in League Two.

There’s little doubt he has all the attributes to make the kind of impact his potential new manager is looking for.

And no one should let a few ill-considered words or the Scouser’s age cloud that fact.

Baker jetted off on holiday last Friday to consider the tasty deal Pompey have offered to make Fratton Park the next step-off in a career which has stretched from non-league backwaters to the Championship.

An offer from the MK Dons side he scored five goals for in the second tier last term remains the competition.

There is no deal on the table from Coventry, despite the come-and-get-me plea he delivered to the Sky Blues and quickly distanced himself from last week.

Baker, who still lives in the city with his young family, gave an interview to the Coventry Telegraph which was laden with honesty and not enough thought.

His words circulated more quickly than the attacking midfielder anticipated, causing a degree of angst with the fans of his suitors.

By Thursday night, Baker had taken to Twitter to extinguish the fire and rule out a return to the club he remains a popular figure with after 21 leagues goals in 125 starts over four years.

Along with the poor PR, it appears to be Baker’s age which has also caused a degree of consternation.

At 33, some are concerned his best years are behind him. Maybe. But there is still plenty for him to offer like there was for Paul Merson at 34 and Robert Prosinecki at a weathered 32.

The due diligence on Baker tells of a player in outstanding physical condition.

And that is backed up on the YouTube searches which unearth lengthy footage of his impressive contribution to MK Dons’ cause over the past couple of seasons.

In fact, the more you hear about Baker the more his signing appeals.

After doing the hard miles on the non-league circuit Baker, we’re told, is a player who appreciates the chance he has been given to earn a living in the game.

Whether that will be at Fratton Park next we wait to hear.

No outcome is imminent but Pompey are quietly confident he’ll arrive.

And that will mean Cook will have the kind of trusted lieutenant he craves.