Cook: Barton could convert to defender

Adam Barton. Picture: Joe Pepler
Adam Barton. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Adam Barton could have a future as a defender.

Paul Cook believes the midfielder can continue to operate at the back for his Pompey side.

Adam can be a centre back.

Paul Cook

And Cook admitted Barton has now given him a selection headache at the back.

Barton has shone for the Blues in two appearances as a makeshift defender in recent weeks.

With Pompey shorn of options, the 25-year-old slotted into the back four against Luton last month with Adam Webster suspended.

He helped his side to a clean sheet before returning to the position in the FA Cup trip to Ipswich Town.

The former Coventry man shone with his performance at Portman Road, with his calmness and ability on the ball praised.

Now, with Matt Clarke unavailable as part of his loan move from the Tractor Boys, Barton could be needed at the back for the third-round replay.

Christian Burgess may also be in contention after returning to training last Thursday.

Cook is no doubt Barton can play for him in Pompey’s back line as he weighs up his selection options.

He said: ‘Adam can be a centre back. If you look at a team who pass like ours, he can play there can’t he?

‘He’s given me a selection problem because if you play like that and get dropped you wouldn’t be happy.’

Defensive choices aren’t Cook’s only selection headache ahead of tomorrow’s game. With 26 players in his squad there are plenty of other issues to weigh up.

Cook said: ‘When you have the amount of players we have, you are trying to keep as many of them happy as you can. That, for me, is the big challenge.

‘It’s not about the lads who are playing and starting.

‘It’s about the lads coming on. Chaplin comes off the bench and makes you think.

‘He comes on like his life depends on it and performs like that. That’s Conor.’

– JORDAN CROSS