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COOK: NOW FOR LEAGUE FOCUS

11 August 2016

Boss looks ahead to Crewe clash

Pompey’s brief flirtation with the EFL Cup is over following a midweek defeat at Coventry.

But Paul Cook is hoping that the league campaign will ultimately prove to be a more fruitful relationship.

The second match of the fourth tier season has provided a long trip north to face a Crewe side who were relegated last term.

Steve Davis’ side have enjoyed a successful 2016/17 opening, however, with successive victories over Stevenage and Sheffield United.

And Cook is hoping to see an entertaining contest when his side visit Alexandra Stadium on Saturday.

The Blues boss said: “We’re not happy that we’re out of the cup – of course we’re not.

“But we’re happy that we’ve come through it unscathed and can now concentrate on the league, albeit with a few EFL Trophy games as well.

“It’s always a decent game against Crewe. They’re a great club who have their DNA and have stuck by that for a few years.

“Dario Gradi had some fantastic years there and now Steve has been in for a while and always has them playing good football.

“They’ve travelled to Stevenage and Sheffield United in the past week, and have won both games.

“So anyone who thinks we’re going to roll up to Crewe on Saturday and have a comfortable day is very much misguided.”

Saturday’s match forms the second part of a daunting set of journeys for Pompey fans, sandwiched between midweek treks to Coventry and Morecambe.

Cook said: “You can never get tired of complimenting our supporters, especially with the number of season tickets.

“The travel is going to be a big test for us, although we travel on a luxury coach and stay in a hotel.

“But our fans have jobs to do and they’re a credit to this club with the way they back us.

“The players really do appreciate it and I hope we can repay them come the end of the campaign.”

With the abolition of the emergency loan window, Cook has had to put his squad together quickly.

The new rules mean that at the end of this month, he will not be able bring in any players until the start of 2017.

Cook said: “At any given time you used to be able to go to your chairman, say that you need someone and they might be sympathetic.

“Now, wherever your squad is on August 31, that’s going to have to get you through to January.

“None of us knows how this is going to work because if you don’t get any injuries or suspensions then everything’s great.

“But you could get a few in quick succession and I think that’s going to test quite a few clubs.”

Watch Cook’s thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for extended interviews with the manager and Gareth Evans, as well as classic Crewe highlights.


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