Paul Cook: Pompey open-day XI not certain to face Dagenham

PAUL COOK praised all involved in Pompey’s open training day yesterday but warned supporters: Don’t read too much into the starting line-up.

The manager’s new-look side set foot on the Fratton turf for the first time this summer, following the introduction of a secondary drainage system and reseeding work on the playing surface.

Paul Cook took time out of a busy day at Fratton Park to read The News' Pompey magazine, which is out now Picture: Malcolm Wells

Paul Cook took time out of a busy day at Fratton Park to read The News' Pompey magazine, which is out now Picture: Malcolm Wells

The Hawks Academy were the Blues’ invited opponents in an hour-long exhibition game.

That formed part of the official launch of the new all-black third strip – as worn by Pompey – which went on sale in the club shop.

And it proved to be a successful outing on home soil as a Matt Tubbs-inspired Blues strolled to an emphatic 6-0 success in front of hundreds of watching fans.

The striker struck four times in total, with new defensive recruit Matt Clarke and playmaker Gary Roberts also on target.

Don’t read too much into the starting line-up. It was just a case of the lads who have had the most minutes getting the game

Pompey manager Paul Cook

Pompey lined up in Cook’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, with goalkeeper Paul Jones featuring behind a back-four of triallist right-back Ben Davies, Christian Burgess, Clarke and Enda Stevens.

Michael Doyle and Nigel Atangana occupied the two sitting midfield positions, with attacking trio Roberts, Kyle Bennett and Gareth Evans supporting Tubbs.

At half-time, the boss introduced triallist goalkeeper Brian Murphy and front man Conor Chaplin as he freshened up his selection.

However, Cook insisted the XI who began the game won’t necessarily be his starting line-up for Saturday’s League Two curtain raiser with Dagenham & Redbridge (3pm).

‘Don’t read too much into the starting line-up,’ said the manager.

‘It was just a case of the lads who have had the most minutes getting the game.

‘The lads who haven’t had the minutes played at Burnham last night and then we will pick the team (for Dagenham) from there.

‘Competition for places is huge.’

Cook also introduced former Chesterfield midfielder Rommy Boco in the second half but stressed he has no intention of signing his former player.

‘We are just helping him (Boco) out,’ said Cook.

‘He is under contract in India, so there is nothing happening there at all.

‘He is a good friend of mine so it is just a question of us helping him.’

The Blues boss added that the day represented a very worthwhile exercise.

He said: ‘All in all, it was a very worthwhile exercise.

‘It was good for our lads to get their first experience (of Fratton Park).

‘Certainly the pitch looks in really good condition.

‘Hopefully, we can keep on top of that because we are obviously going to try and pass the ball and play.

‘The ground staff do their best to get us the best pitch to play on and our job is to produce the best football.’