Paul Cook has pinpointed Accrington Stanley as League Two’s best side.
The Pompey boss believes Stanley are ‘pound for pound’ the best outfit in the division ahead of tomorrow’s clash at the Crown Ground.
For me, Accrington are the best team in the league.Paul Cook
Cook heaped praise on boss John Coleman for putting Stanley in the promotion hunt on a shoestring budget.
Accrington have also had to contend with speculation over the futures of prime assets Josh Windass and Matt Crooks.
They have agreed moves to Rangers but will remain at the club for the season.
Terrible weather has also seen a string of postponements, with Accy’s last home game taking place on November 14.
Despite all those problems, Coleman’s side go into the game in a play-off berth.
Cook said: ‘We’ve got our hands full against Accrington.
‘For me, Accrington are the best team in the league.
‘I think, pound-for-pound, they are the best team in the division.
‘The league table doesn’t say that but they’ve had an amount of games off.
‘They would have picked up more points, for sure.
‘They’ve lost the lads to Rangers but conducted themselves wonderfully well through that.
‘With respect to the majority of the other teams involved, we all have resources Accrington don’t.
‘Pre-Christmas they showed that when they didn’t have the speculation about the two young lads moving.
‘The took on all before them. Unfortunately the carry on with the weather and games being called off has caused a hiccup.
‘For them to be where they are at the minute is a great credit to John Coleman.
‘Their team is as strong as anyone.’
Last month’s FA Cup clash saw heated scenes between coaching staff on the full-time whistle.
Cook played down the suggestion the game will be a spiky affair but knows it marks the start of a significant week with an FA Cup replay against Ipswich and big league game against Oxford to follow.
He said: ‘I’m sure they will be ready.
‘Football’s football and the most important thing is the players and what takes place on the pitch.
‘We’ve got a big week coming up. If you’d offered us this week in August, does it get any better? Not for me.
‘We’ll have two big gates at Fratton Park next week.
‘That’s why I came here and what supporters want.’
– JORDAN CROSS