Boss prepares to face League Two leaders
There is only one thing on Paul Cook’s Christmas list this year – three points against Northampton.
Pompey will face one of their toughest tests of the season when they make the trip to Sixfields Stadium this weekend.
Chris Wilder’s Cobblers have won seven successive matches and are on a 10-match unbeaten run.
That has seen them climb to the top of the League Two table, despite facing severe financial problems earlier in the campaign.
Northampton currently hold a six-point lead over Pompey and Cook knows that halving that challenge will be a difficult challenge.
The Blues boss said: “I wish they were travelling to us and we were top of the table – that would be a lot better!
“Northampton have had a fantastic season and deserve credit for continually winning games, despite all the troubles they’ve been through.
“It’s a fantastic achievement for them to be where they are at this stage and the reason for that is they’ve got a very good manager and very good players.
“There’s a long way to go, but they’re certainly doing extremely well as we approach the halfway point of the season.
“They deserve to be where they are and we’re in for a really tough game on Saturday, but it’s one we’re looking forward to.
“We’re hoping to take as many points as we can over this Christmas period, but football is all about clichés and it really is all about the next game as far as we’re concerned.”
Christian Burgess will miss out at Northampton after damaging ankle ligaments in last week’s victory over Hartlepool and Cook revealed that there was mixed news on the injury front.
He said: “Christian will be out for a while and that’s a blow, but Matt Clarke is a very able player to come into the team.
“He and Adam Webster will be at the back on Saturday and I’m sure they’ll acquit themselves very well.
“Christian will probably be looking at the Accrington match in January to be back for. He’s a popular lad and will be missed.
“Gary Roberts has trained with the rest of the lads for the first time, which is great news for everyone.
“Paul Jones has had keyhole surgery and will be out for a few more weeks, but Matt Tubbs is back on the grass again, so we’ve got some good news and some bad news.”
Watch Cook's thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for extended interviews with the manager and Matt Clarke.