Pompey boss targets winning promotion '˜mini-league'

PAUL COOK targeted winning a '˜mini-league' to fire Pompey into League One.
Paul Cook. Picture: Joe PeplerPaul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler

And the Blues boss is looking to create wave of optimism to propel his team towards that goal.

Cook’s men face Blackpool tonight looking to make it back-to-back wins after victory over Accrington Stanley.

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The call from supporters has been for a show of unity after tension reigned at Fratton Park on Saturday.

A win would create momentum for Pompey as they enter a critical stage of the season.

Cook is hoping emerging on top of a gaggle of teams in and around the top seven will deliver success

He said: ‘The top two have a good gap.

‘Below them teams are clustering. Wycombe, Exeter, ourselves, Mansfield and Luton. We’re all eyeing third spot.

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‘Other teams have got tougher run-ins and teams will play each other. It’ll balance itself out.

‘We’ve got 17 fixtures left and we have to concentrate on ourselves.

‘If we go up automatically everyone will be happy, if we go into the play-offs everyone will be sad.

‘But the sun starts to shine and everyone’s mood changes. I’m happier.

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‘The golf clubs come out of the attic and all that stuff. People start to enjoy it. We have to smile and enjoy it.

‘If we win we’ll go to Barnet with a sold out following.

‘This is Pompey. If we won Saturday we’d go to Carlisle and take over their ground.

‘It’s like going to Benidorm on a stag do! That’s what it is like. We have to ride that.

‘I want everyone to be positive.’

Blackpool arrive after thumping third-placed Carlisle 4-1 on their own patch on Saturday.

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While most teams have concentrated on being defensive when visiting Pompey, Cook expects Gary Bowyer’s to be more progressive.

He said: ‘The players are looking at DVDs. We’re looking at Carlisle v Blackpool and where we can hurt them.

‘They are looking at clips of how they can improve. Against Accrington we got in positions to hurt them and never did that.

‘When we score first we expect the other team’s game plan to change. It won’t be like that against Blackpool.

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‘Every game takes on a different form. Blackpool will come to win and see this as an opportunity.

‘We must be bang at it to win. Blackpool will cause us problems, make no bones about that, we must do the same at the other end.

‘If you give the ball away cheaply Blackpool will hurt you.

‘The reality is you must change for Blackpool, but we can tell Gary (Bowyer) when he reads the paper we’re not.

‘I would imagine it will be a good game between two teams trying to win.

‘Fans can look forward to two good teams going at it.’