Cook unveils blueprint to solve Pompey away-day woes

  • Pompey won three and drew 11 of their 23 league games last season
  • Only winless Blackpool had a worse record outside the Premier League

PAUL COOK unveiled his blueprint to conquer Pompey’s away-day woes and vowed: The players will have no more excuses.

Only Blackpool had a worse record on the road than the Blues outside the Premier League last term.

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler

Under Andy Awford and then caretaker boss Gary Waddock, Pompey collected just three league wins on their travels.

It’s a dreadful record bettered by all but one of the nine clubs who suffered relegation outside the top flight.

The issue has been carefully studied by Cook and his staff, who have now opted to travel to away fixtures on a Thursday – a day earlier.

As a result, the team coach yesterday left their Hilsea training ground at 7pm for tomorrow afternoon’s match at Plymouth Argyle.

Players and their families will have to sacrifice a little, but the end result is what we all want come the end of the season. If we can gain what we want the sacrifice will be well worth it

Paul Cook

The schedule also consists of training at Torquay United this afternoon.

And Cook is hopeful the new routine can finally end the Blues’ long-standing travel sickness.

He said: ‘If we don’t win at Plymouth it will be because we are not good enough and nothing to do with journeys, food or nutrition.

‘Great credit to the club for backing us with these things. We are going earlier and come the end of every away game this will make sure there are no excuses about journeys or travelling – it is because we are not good enough.

‘We want to be successful so the attention to detail is huge.

‘Great credit to Mark Catlin (chief executive) and Tony Brown (director of finance). They are very much on our side in all of this, as is the club in general.

‘We want to get away from being six hours on a bus on a Friday getting to hotels. They are facts and we want to take all of these away and just concentrate on the game.

‘It doesn’t mean we will win, but it takes away the excuses.

‘That will involve leaving on the Thursday night at the times we are going to travel. In three hours at that time you can go wherever you like.

‘Players and their families will have to sacrifice a little, but the end result is what we all want come the end of the season. If we can gain what we want the sacrifice will be well worth it.

‘If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

‘Is it the right thing to do? I think so. Is it worth a try? Without a doubt.’

Chesterfield won seven away league matches last term as they finished sixth in League One under Cook.

Yet for the 48-year-old, travelling long distances was never a concern for the Spireites.

He added: ‘It wasn’t really an issue at Chesterfield because, geographically, we were in a much stronger place.

‘So in terms of travelling it was never as bad as it is here.

‘Andy (Awford) last year tried flying because the club have been keen to try different things when managers have thought of it.

‘This is my way of trying.’