Boss to select strong side against Macclesfield
Winning promotion from League Two is Paul Cook’s ultimate ambition this season.
But that does not mean he is taking this weekend’s Emirates FA Cup first round tie against Macclesfield lightly.
Their opponents sit a division below Pompey in the highest level of non-league football and had to beat Alfreton in a qualifying round to reach this stage of the competition.
But Cook does not believe the gulf between the sides is that great and expects his side to have to work hard in order to progress.
The Blues boss said: “Pompey have had great success in this competition in the past, but now we’re looking to the future.
“It starts with a difficult game against Macclesfield – League Two against Conference isn’t David versus Goliath in my opinion.
“They’ll be organised, fit and tactically aware – John Askey has done very well during his time there.
“Our priority is the league because will we win the FA Cup this season? Probably not. But we can get out of this division.
“We’ll be fielding a full-strength side, however, because we don’t have another game for eight days.
“This match is a fantastic distraction for all of us. It’s a tie we’re looking forward to and we want to get into the next round.”
Striker Marc McNulty could make his debut against Macclesfield after arriving on loan from Sheffield United.
Cook said: “He’s a goalscorer and is someone we’ve been thinking about bringing to the club for some time.
“We think we’ll be able to offer him minutes on the pitch and it’s great to get someone of his calibre.
“We’re grateful to Sheffield United for allowing him to come here and now we can concentrate on working with Mark for the benefit of this club.”
Matt Tubbs will miss the tie with an ankle problem, while Caolan Lavery has not been given permission to play by parent club Sheffield Wednesday.
Watch Cook’s thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for full interviews with the manager and Gareth Evans.