Caolan Lavery thanks boss for releasing shackles

Caolan Lavery scores against Wycombe. Picture: Joe Pepler
Caolan Lavery scores against Wycombe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Caolan Lavery paid tribute to Paul Cook for restoring his passion for football.

Lavery helped Pompey to a 2-2 draw at Wycombe on Saturday as they extended their unbeaten run to five games.

I’m enjoying my football and that’s all I want to do.

Caolan Lavery

Cook’s side fought back from two goals down with Lavery’s effort in first-half stoppage-time handing his team a lifeline.

That was the 23-year-old’s third strike since arriving on loan from Sheffield Wednesday last month.

That ended a period in the cold at Hillsborough, with just two Capital One Cup appearances to his name this season.

Lavery thanked Cook for showing faith in him when he wasn’t featuring for his parent club.

The Northern Irishman explained he is revelling in the freedom his manager is affording him.

Lavery said: ‘There’s obviously responsibilities but the gaffer wants us to play with freedom in the final third. That suits me down to a tee.

‘There’s a game plan but at the same time you have to go out and enjoy your football.

‘If you can’t do that, what’s the point in playing?

‘It’s all about playing with a smile on my face.

‘I’m just going out for the team, working hard and trying to enjoy myself.

‘If I’m able to score a few goals here and there that’s even better.

‘I don’t see why I wouldn’t stay here now.

‘I’m enjoying my football and that’s all I want to do. If I’m playing football I’m happy.

‘I haven’t spoken to them (Sheffield Wednesday), though, so I don’t really know what is going on.

‘What I do know is I’m enjoying my football here.

‘Hopefully I can keep my place in the team and then we’ll see what happens.’

Lavery profited from a piece of unselfish play from Marc McNulty to haul his team back into the game against the Chairboys.

That link-up is showing promising signs and encouraging Pompey fans.

Lavery knows the pair have to keep their form going with Cook able to call on other options.

He said: ‘Marc could have gone on and scored again but he was unselfish enough to square it to me for an easy tap-in.

‘As a striker you have to get into the box and little things like that can happen.

‘The tap-ins are the best ones to score.

‘I prefer them to the ones outside the box. They all mean the world to me.

‘The goal tally is going up. That’s why the gaffer wanted to bring us in and put us together.

‘There are a lot of players behind us in the pecking order. Lots of good players.

‘We’ll do what we can to stay there.

‘There’s a lot of players in the team fighting for my place and there’s good competition.

‘If I’m playing I need to keep the shirt for myself.’