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COOK: PLAY WITH FREEDOM

5 February 2016

Boss looks ahead to Orient test

Pompey’s form has taken a bit of a dip in recent weeks.

League games against Oxford and Morecambe have yielded a solitary point, while an impressive display was not enough to cause an FA Cup upset against Bournemouth.

They host Leyton Orient this weekend looking to get their League Two promotion challenge back on track.

But Paul Cook has urged his players not to let the pressure to deliver success get to them.

The Blues boss said: “There are 19 games still to go and so many points to play for, so we can over-analyse results.

“They come thick and fast now and we just have to focus on trying to pick up as many positive results as we can.

“When you’re involved in Pompey – as a player or a manager – then there will be pressure on you.

“So if you then put even more pressure onto yourself it can become difficult to handle.

“The most important thing for us on Saturday is that we recreate the first half performance from the Bournemouth game. If we do that then the likelihood is that Orient will have their hands full.

“So we can’t focus on the pressure that people put on us or that we put ourselves under – we just need to go out and play with freedom.”

Orient sit two points behind Pompey in ninth place and recently appointed former Premier League star Kevin Nolan as their player/manager.

Cook said: “He’s been in charge for three games now, so he’s probably one of the longest-serving managers!

“Kevin had a glittering playing career and is now cutting his teeth in management at a really good club.

“Like everyone, he’ll need time to put his stamp on things there and we certainly wish him well.”

Danny Hollands is still missing for Pompey with a leg fracture, but Cook only has one new injury concern.

He said: “Adam Webster’s got a bit of hamstring problem that we’ll have a look at, but I imagine that he won’t be starting on Saturday.”

Watch Cook’s thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for extended interviews with the manager and Gareth Evans.


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