Cook calls for start of Pompey winning mentality

Pompey boss Paul Cook
Pompey boss Paul Cook
  • Pompey beat the Hawks 4-0 in last year’s fixture
  • The last time the Hawks defeated Pompey was in July 2006 with a 3-1 win

PAUL COOK has urged Pompey to hone the winning mentality for a promotion push by defeating the Hawks.

The Blues travel to Westleigh Park tomorrow (3pm) for their opening pre-season friendly.

If you are trying to create an environment of winning then you have to go into games looking to get a victory

Paul Cook

It is sure to be another bumper crowd for the traditional summer fixture between the neighbours.

Last season Andy Awford’s side ran out 4-0 winners through a Craig Westcarr double and further goals from Ryan Bird and Ricky Holmes.

None of the goalscorers remain for the latest clash.

Instead, Cook will field a vastly-overhauled playing squad he believes can challenge for promotion.

And he has called on his new-look Blues to begin their first step with a morale-boosting victory.‘I just want to win,’ said the manager.

‘If we were to get beat I wouldn’t be too hard on the players. At Chesterfield we lost games at Lincoln, Southport, plenty of places. You can guarantee in football so-called lesser teams beat bigger teams in pre-season.

‘That is the nature of the game we are in and no-one will ever change it.

‘But if you are trying to create an environment of winning then you have to go into games looking to get a victory.

‘Turning round and saying “Let’s just get fit” is not right, not at all.

‘There must be an edge to what we are doing.

‘If we are playing Havant away from home backed by a large following, they want to see us win, they want to see us try to look good.

‘If we can do all the things in one game then we will all come away very happy.

‘I’m looking forward to it. Myself and Leam (Richardson) have come a long way together now.

‘It will be a good day for us. Our families are down and it is the start of what we hope is a very successful journey.

‘If it isn’t it will be because we have done our best – but were not good enough.’

Pompey were granted use of Westleigh Park to train on earlier this week – a gesture appreciated by the League Two outfit.

The clubs possess a strong relationship and, since community ownership, the Hawks are these days allowed to keep all gate receipts.

An estimated crowd of 2,500 turned up last year, while the previous campaign 3,009 attended to boost the non-league club’s coffers.

And Cook is eager for the relationship to remain.

He added: ‘The quality of their playing surface was frightening really, it is in fantastic condition.

‘You have got to have relationships. Hopefully, once our training ground is up and running properly we will return the favour.

‘It is important that it’s not just take, take, take. It shouldn’t be like that.

‘We are a massive football club, everyone knows that, and if we can offer help to some of the smaller clubs around us then we will do it.’