Caolan Lavery full Pompey debut encourages Cook

Caolan Lavery. Picture: Joe Pepler
Caolan Lavery. Picture: Joe Pepler

Paul Cook spoke of his delight with the contribution of Caolan Lavery on his full debut.

The on-loan striker was given the nod to start in place of Matt Tubbs in Pompey’s attack against Mansfield.

We are Portsmouth, everyone wants to beat us, everyone tries that bit harder, what we must do is make sure we back our players

Paul Cook

Among four changes, he featured for 78 minutes in Saturday’s goalless draw before being substituted for Tubbs.

Cook was pleased with input of Lavery, making his third appearance in total for the Blues since his arrival from Sheffield Wednesday.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘I thought Lavery showed signs of what he is about.

‘I thought in certain aspects of the game he will only get better and stronger.

‘He’s a great player and his match fitness will come on.

‘We are all looking for that goal. Everyone said it has to be Tubbs playing up there time and time again and no doubt we will now all want the big man again that can score at the back post, but that’s football.

‘Overall I thought we started the game excellently, but we didn’t get the goal.

‘It was the same as against Exeter – and you have got to score when you are on top, so you have to stay focused and keep going.’

Joining Lavery in the starting line-up on Saturday were Danny Hollands, Brian Murphy and Kal Naismith.

Regardless, once again Pompey’s home ailments were on show as they failed to make their dominance count over the Stags.

It was the fourth-successive Fratton Park fixture Cook’s side had failed to record a victory.

In total, they have won only two of their eight league matches at home this season – yet remain in second spot in League Two.

Pompey did, however, look more effective upon the introduction of Nigel Atangana and Conor Chaplin from the bench in the 59th minute.

It prompted Cook to switch to a 4-4-2 formation, with Lavery and Chaplin lining-up in attack.

However, still the breakthrough never arrived, much to the frustration of the Fratton faithful.

And once again Pompey couldn’t crack a tough opposition defence on home soil.

Cook added: ‘It was a blow to lose Gary Roberts because they are big-game players, unfortunately they haven’t sparkled (against Mansfield) but we are at a club which has lost one game in 15.

‘We are Portsmouth, everyone wants to beat us, everyone tries that bit harder, what we must do is make sure we back our players.

‘I don’t think systems win games, I think players do.

‘I think one system will always be countered by another one.’

– NEIL ALLEN