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23 July 2016

Boss reflects on Bournemouth draw

Bournemouth’s visit to Fratton Park provided Pompey with their biggest test pre-season test to date.

But the hosts were certainly not over-awed by their Premier League visitors on a baking afternoon on the south coast.

Goals from Gary Roberts, Michael Smith and Adam May helped secure a 3-3 draw in the only home friendly of the summer.

And Paul Cook was pleased with how his players stood up to their higher-ranked opponents.

The Blues boss said: “We had some glimpses of good play and some bad as well, while it was nice for all the new lads to get a game at Fratton Park.

“It can be the end of the world when you draw at Salisbury, but now we’ve drawn against a Premier League team.

“When you play a team of Bournemouth’s quality you know they’re going to hurt you with the likes of Callum Wilson and Lewis Grabban.

“But we hurt them as well and that was the particularly pleasing thing for me.

“Gary scored a great goal and is an infectious lad – if he stays injury free then I’m sure he’ll have a big impact on our season.

“We’re pleased with the squad we’ve got, although – as everyone knows – there are one or two areas that we need strengthen.”

Teenage stopper Alex Bass looked assured during the first half and Cook is pleased with his progress.

He said: “Alex was excellent. If he continues to work hard and keep his feet on the ground then the chances are he’ll have a great future.

“It’s far too early to put him in goal for us in competitive games, so the plan is for him to go out and play some football.

“But we haven’t got the goalkeeper issue resolved yet and until we do then we’ve got every confidence in the lad.”

As well as being an important part of Pompey’s preparations for the 2016/17 campaign, the friendly also served as a benefit match for Alan McLoughlin.

Cook said: “I’m sure he had a great day that will live long in the memory. Credit to him and also to the fans who came out to show their support.”

Watch the manager’s thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for full reaction.

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