Onus on players to get Pompey fans on feet

Gary Roberts celebrates scoring earlier this season to ignite scenes of joy among the Fratton faithful
Gary Roberts celebrates scoring earlier this season to ignite scenes of joy among the Fratton faithful

POMPEY’s players have been told: Get Fratton Park on their feet.

The onus is on the Blues’ starting XI to lift their support as they meet Accrington Stanley tomorrow.

Paul Cook has been preaching positivity and stating he intends to see out the season with a smile on his face ahead of the meeting with John Coleman’s side.

The home crowd got right behind their team last time out against Exeter, with the majority of the 17,195 crowd staying patient.

Despite that, their side fell to a 1-0 defeat and have dropped to seventh in the table ahead of their return home.

The game is the first of two at Fratton in four days, with Blackpool visiting on Tuesday.

Cook underlined it’s down to the players to stop any negativity setting in.

He said: ‘The players must lift the crowd. It’s got to be us with how we play.

‘We must have a tempo to our game, start the game and create chances. We must have crosses like the end of the game at Wycombe.

‘I enjoyed watching us play there and I must highlight that. Now it’s down to the players to do the same. If we do that over the final 18 games we’ll be okay.’

Cook isn’t paying special attention to renewing acquaintances with friend-turned-foe John Coleman tomorrow.

The pair had a bust-up over Coleman playing Rommy Boco against Pompey last season, after he moved to the Crown Ground.

That went against a gentleman’s agreement made when the Benin international left the Blues.

Cook is worrying only about what his team are doing, however.

He added: ‘Do you think the teams will get better than the two we’ve just played?

‘It’s more of the same – so it’s about us.

‘My record is what it is. I can’t change, good or bad.

‘If you look at the Wycombe game, if you add goals you’re good to go.’

Pompey appear set to continue with Cook’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation tomorrow.

Carl Baker was left out for the first time in the league this season as Jamal Lowe was given his first start.

Cook is looking for a cohesive attacking display – regardless of selection.

‘It’s your front four firing in your system. Your front four are huge,’ said Cook.

‘It’s not about any individual, though. It’s about firing as a unit.

‘Personnel can change – your job spec doesn’t. That’s my view.’