Boss looks ahead to Hartlepool test
It is the time of the season when style often has to be sacrificed for substance.
Points are the only focus as Pompey try to haul themselves over the line and achieve automatic promotion from League Two.
There were certainly plenty of nervy moments at the end of a 2-1 victory over Newport at Fratton Park last Saturday.
And Paul Cook is prepared to board the emotional rollercoaster again in the final seven fixtures.
The Blues boss said: “It wasn’t a particularly enjoyable game last week, but the three points were vital – as are any points at this stage of the season.
“The more you debate the match, the more you come back to the result and that’s the most important thing.
“That’s just the way the games are at this stage of the campaign, unless you’re Doncaster and possibly Plymouth who, for me, have nearly completed the job already.
“For us it will still be a case of getting nervous and agitated whenever things are going against you.
“But the bigger picture says that whatever teams go up will deserve to – and we’re quite hopeful that will include us.
“You’ve got to have belief in your squad of players, while our supporters will travel to games in their thousands and Fratton Park will be sold out.”
Pompey face a Hartlepool side sitting eight points above the bottom two and not completely safe from the drop.
Cook said: “Dave Jones has gone in there and got them playing a really nice brand of football.
“They were unlucky to lose at Blackpool last week and I’m sure they’ll be confident of reaching their target.
“Hartlepool have got some real threats around the pitch, so we’ve done our homework on them, just as I’m sure they’ve prepared for us.
“I think you’ll see two teams who want to play football and hopefully it will be a good game for everyone who travels.”
Cook will have to make a change up front at Victoria Park, with Eoin Doyle ruled out by a groin injury.
He said: “Eoin’s been for a scan and it doesn’t look great at the moment. We’ll keep monitoring him, but he certainly won’t make the weekend.”
Watch Cook’s thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for full pre-match video content.