No more away-day Blues for Pompey

Gary Roberts celebrates scoring against play-off opponents Plymouth at Home Park back in August  a match the Blues won 2-1 Picture: Joe Pepler

Gary Roberts celebrates scoring against play-off opponents Plymouth at Home Park back in August  a match the Blues won 2-1 Picture: Joe Pepler

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Only Blackpool possessed a worse away record outside the Premier League last term.

Now Pompey are sitting on 11 victories away from Fratton Park – after more than doubling their 2014-15 tally.

I think the time to look at our campaign is the end of the season when you can say “Go on, what have we done?”. Well, we have played 23 away games and won 11 of them

Paul Cook

And irrespective of the result against Northampton on Saturday, the Blues will have amassed more points on their travels than at home this season.

It’s a remarkable transformation instigated by Paul Cook, after he strived to turn around fortunes following his arrival last May.

Backed by the club’s board, he was given the green light to initiate a new travel procedure, often involving leaving for away fixtures a day earlier.

It attracted the added cost of extended stays in hotels, while training has taken place using facilities of other clubs.

The results are there for all to see.

Pompey have won as many league matches on their travels this term as the three previous campaigns combined.

They have totalled 41 points in comparison to last term’s 18, while at Fratton Park the tally is 37 with one match to go.

And Cook is delighted with the turnaround which has underpinned play-off qualification.

He said: ‘We’ve had a great year away from home, we really have, great credit to the players and the club.

‘We have travelled well, so if we did get beat there could be no excuses from us.

‘I think the time to look at our campaign is the end of the season when you can say “Go on, what have we done?”

‘Well, we have played 23 away games and won 11 of them.

‘Nowadays what happens is, if you get beat 2-0 at say Hartlepool, people will say “That was a waste of a journey”.

‘Well, it’s not a waste of a journey if you are doing things properly.

‘Our away form this season should be deemed to have been comfortably good enough to get us to where we wanted to be.

‘Normally you train here on the Friday, get on the bus about 1pm or 2pm and it can take eight or nine hours to get somewhere.

‘You cannot be doing that on a Friday and expect lads to perform really well the following day.

‘We have travelled very early sometimes, we have always tried to get into hotels as early as possible so the lads get to bed and get their rest. And if we don’t win, you can’t blame that.

‘The club have been brilliant, absolutely brilliant, and I think the away form this year is a pat on the back for everyone.’

Despite Pompey’s impressive form on their travels, Northampton, Accrington, Oxford United and Plymouth all boast better records.

Meanwhile, at Fratton Park the Blues have won 10 times and lost five, scoring the same amount of goals.

Of course, there will still be a minimum of one more game away from Fratton – starting with Plymouth in the play-offs.

Cook added: ‘Eleven wins is brilliant, while four defeats is unbelievable.

‘There have been some good games. Notts County and Orient we were beat after playing well. That’s one of the pleasing things, we have been involved in some really good games.’