Cook vows to freshen up his Pompey side

  • Pompey have previously fielded the same side in five of their six league games
  • Chaplin will make his first league start of the season
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Pompey boss Paul Cook has pledged to ‘freshen up’ his side.

And Conor Chaplin will lead the way against Barnet with only his second-ever league start.

Pompey youngster Conor Chaplin Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey youngster Conor Chaplin Picture: Joe Pepler

Successive home draws against Morecambe and Accrington have persuaded the Blues boss to shuffle his team tomorrow.

Pompey had previously named the same side for five of their opening six League Two fixtures.

But Chaplin will start, Kal Naismith has come into the 18-man squad, while injury may ensure Paul Jones has to replace Brian Murphy in goal.

In the build up, Cook was keeping the lid on the full extent of his team alternations.

It’s a cycle and when you are asking people to be patient how long do you wait?

Paul Cook

But he believes now is the right time to instigate a change in personnel.

He said: ‘The Accrington performance was a poor performance for our football team, but we move on.

‘Until that point we had really strong performances.

‘If that Accrington display carries on into two, three or four games it becomes an issue – but at the minute I don’t see that happening, I don’t see that coming into our performance tomorrow.

‘Certainly within the framework of the club we have good options to make us not stronger but to freshen us up – and that is important.

‘It’s a cycle, and when you are asking people to be patient how long do you wait?

‘Using Conor as an example, you can only keep doing these things before the manager will say to you “Yes, go and have a go”, but it is not to the detriment of somebody who might come out.

‘If you look at player X, for example, who hasn’t missed a game, he might just need that little week or two out. It’s about the squad.

‘Come the end of the season we won’t speak about individual players or who has won us the game, we will talk about the season as a collective.

‘We didn’t play well on Satuday, it’s football and we all try to cure it.’

Tomorrow marks Chaplin’s first league start of the campaign.

The 18-year-old has shone early season with goals against Derby and Reading in the Capital One Cup.

Now Cook believes it is the time for a league chance.

He added: ‘Conor is the major one, he has been knocking on the door for a long time now with his pre-season form, the Capital One Cup and the effect he had on the game at Luton after coming on.

‘He is certainly one we are looking to start.

‘There won’t be any knee jerk reaction from me, it is putting people into that jigsaw that might make it better for a couple of weeks.

‘Kyle Bennett was the hero against Dagenham, Conor the hero against Derby, Matt Tubbs was the hero against Luton, Gary Roberts was the hero against Morecambe, so we have had a continuous cycle of different people doing it.

‘It can’t be the same one every week.’