Cook: Park the bus and Pompey will punish you

Pompey striker Mark McNulty Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey striker Mark McNulty Picture: Joe Pepler

PAUL COOK warned teams parking the bus at Fratton Park: We’ll hurt you now.

The Pompey boss believes there is now the attacking quality in his ranks to break down teams who put up a defensive barrier against his men.

Now let teams try to sit deep against us.

Paul Cook

Cook’s side have found it tough to open up sides who have set their stalls out to be hard to beat this season.

Their home form in the league has seen them pick up three wins from 10 games – with six of those fixtures ending in draws.

That’s a reflection of a lack of ambition often seen by opponents who are happy to leave Fratton Park with a point.

Cook admitted his side have lacked the vigour in forward areas to open up defensive opponents.

But that’s been remedied by the addition of Caolan Lavery and Marc McNulty to his squad.

And while Lavery is not available for today’s FA Cup game with Accrington, the Pompey boss believes his attacking options will help ensure negative opposition are now unlocked.

Cook said: ‘We aren’t making excuses, we are where we deserve to be in the league. I have no problems with that.

‘Now, with 26 games to go, we are excited about what we can do.

‘We look around the league and don’t fear anyone. We respect everyone, but don’t fear anyone.

‘It’s not easy for our lads when you look at how teams have set up against us to break them down.

‘Liverpool had two attempts on goal against Swansea. Then they score six. It’s the same team and same players.

‘We’ve suffered from teams putting players behind the ball. Then we haven’t had a lot of energy in the right areas.

‘It’s not a criticism. We’ve had to wait to get the energy.

‘Now let teams try to sit deep against us.

‘We’ll hurt them a lot more.’

Pompey are now approaching the halfway stage of the season, and have suffered two league defeats.

They face a tricky run of league games against the likes of Northampton, Luton and Leyton Orient before the turn of the year.

Cook feels they are fixtures for Pompey to embrace.

He said: ‘We’ve lost two games in 20. If someone had said that at the start of the season you’d be elated with it.

‘Now, all of a sudden, our home form is picking up and we can’t win away.

‘Carlisle and Notts County were as good as we played.

‘But if you keep playing well you’ll be alright.

‘If our lads stay injury free, we can do okay in the Cup and win the league with the squad we’ve got.

‘The good thing is we look forward to games. The Orient game and Luton game we’ll look forward to.

‘Some of the ones you look back on, like the Yeovil game, against teams who sit back with no intent of winning the game, is tough for you.

‘We’re looking forward to playing in good games.’