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COOK'S TITLE TARGET

27 April 2017

Boss looks ahead to Mansfield trip

There is sure to be a party atmosphere inside the away end at Field Mill.

Many Pompey fans traditionally adorn fancy dress to celebrate the final away fixture of the campaign.

But Paul Cook is not content for his side to simply turn up against Mansfield and enjoy the carnival atmosphere.

With top spot still within their sights, he believes the players will not be looking to coast to the end of the season.

The Blues boss said: “We still have a small chance of winning the title and while that’s there, we have to fight for it.

“Any team that’s been promoted will always feel distracted because you feel that you’ve achieved what you were after.

“The natural thing is to step off a bit, but if you saw our performance against Cambridge then I don’t think that can be levelled at our boys.

“Hopefully we can keep it going and have something still to play for against Cheltenham in our last game.

“My message is simple and has remained the same all year – the most important league table is the final one because it doesn’t lie.

“You finish where you deserve. If we end up third then we’ll shake everyone’s hand, but would we like to catch Plymouth and Doncaster? Of course we would.

“We can only control our own destiny, though, so we’ll just concentrate on ourselves and that’s something we’ve done well all season.”

Cook expects to be challenged by a Mansfield side that are currently sitting just one place – and a single point – outside of the top seven.

He said: “It’s a really tough fixture against a strong team who are fighting to get into the play-offs and I’m sure the atmosphere will be electric.

“We’re taking great support there – as we always do – and we want to make sure our fans leave the ground happy with what we’ve done.”

Pompey could be without Stanley Aborah at Mansfield after the midfielder hurt his neck during his home debut last Saturday.

Cook said: “Stanley’s struggling and hasn’t trained all week, which is disappointing because he was outstanding against Cambridge.”

Watch the manager’s thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for full pre-match video content.


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