Pompey goalkeeper Michael Poke needs first-team chance

Pompey goalkeeper Michael Poke has moved to Eastleigh on loan Picture: Steve Reid
Pompey goalkeeper Michael Poke has moved to Eastleigh on loan Picture: Steve Reid

Michael Poke insists he has not given up on his Pompey dream after heading out on loan.

The 29-year-old goalkeeper moved to Fratton Park last summer on a two-year deal but has yet to make his competitive debut for the club after Paul Jones remained an ever-present last term.

I am better off getting games and staying sharp for when I might be needed

Michael Poke

Poke joined Vanarama National League side Eastleigh last week on a temporary deal until January to cover an injury to regular goalkeeper Ross Flitney.

And he is now hungry for first-team football after spending so much time sitting on the bench last season.

With Paul Cook running the rule over former QPR man Brian Murphy in the win at Woking on Friday, the Blues boss is now looking for another goalkeeper to add competition for Jones.

Poke, meanwhile, is simply looking forward to playing competitive games on a Saturday again.

He said: ‘It’s all about getting games for me. I went from playing week in, week out at Torquay to not playing any games for the whole of last season.

‘It’s part and parcel of being a goalkeeper. You either play or you don’t – you can’t come on as a sub for 20 minutes.

‘Only one guy can play but I’m not someone who wants to just sit on the bench and train.

‘It was tough last season – mentally, it was really hard.

‘Eastleigh’s keeper has broken a bone in his hand so the loan will be to provide some cover while he’s injured.

‘I got a call from the gaffer (Cook) and told him I was happy at the club but I wanted to play games so I was keen to go.

‘It’s only down the road, so I can still train at Portsmouth and do a bit with both clubs.

‘I don’t know what will happen or whether I will get to play for Pompey in the future.

‘I don’t tend to look too far ahead – I’ve never done that. Football changes so quickly.

‘But at the moment I am better off getting games and staying sharp for when I might be needed.’

Poke, who started his career with Southampton, has had a succession of loan spells during his career to date but became a first-team regular at Torquay.

He believes injury struck at the wrong time a year ago, which cost him his hopes of starting the season in goal.

He said: ‘When I joined last summer, the gaffer (Andy Awford) told me that I was coming in to battle it out for the number one spot.

‘It didn’t help me getting injured two days before the season started.

‘I rolled my ankle in pre-season and missed a few games and then I got back for the last couple of games but my Achilles flared up and I was out for about two months.

‘When it happened, the manager said he hadn’t made his mind up who would have started that first game if I hadn’t been injured. He told me it was a close decision.

‘I guess we’ll never know what would have happened but it’s water under the bridge and it’s time to look forward now.

‘I’m just looking forward to playing games again.

‘I’m always the same. I keep my head down, work hard and see what happens.’