Paul Cook: Take your pick from Pompey stars

POINTS at stake, promotion and play-off spots up for grabs '“ and player of the season votes available.

Wednesday, 13th April 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:42 pm
Ben Davies took the London Pompey Supporters' Club accolade

For Paul Cook’s men it is still all to play for as they head into their final six fixtures seeking to secure automatic promotion.

Meanwhile in the background, the race for player honours is also developing in intriguing fashion.

Ben Davies has already lifted the London Pompey Supporters’ Club’s accolade, comfortably finishing ahead of Christian Burgess.

Michael Doyle. Picture: Joe Pepler

The tireless right-back has been a revelation since a summer arrival from Sheffield United, making 45 appearances and scoring once.

Yet the Blues’ second-best league season for 23 years has been driven by excellent performances from plenty of the players.

Only the 2002-03 Division One promotion campaign under Harry Redknapp has produced more points since 1993.

While 18 league victories is the third-highest return since the 1996-97 season under Terry Fenwick.

And Cook is convinced many of his team have deservedly put themselves in the frame to be recognised by supporters for end of season silverware.

He said: ‘Ben Davies’ award was thoroughly deserved, we have a number of candidates don’t we.

‘Ben would be right up there with anyone, but I do think we have quite a few.

‘If you look at Adam Webster’s emergence as a player, Christian Burgess has been absolutely outstanding at times, Matt Clarke is a 19-year-old kid.

‘Enda Stevens has played 46 games for us this year – you can nearly go right through our team.

‘Kyle Bennett for a flair player has had some low days but also had plenty of highs and is playing really well at the minute.

‘Gary Roberts will be disappointed with his stop-start Pompey career, Michael Doyle would be up on anybody’s shortlist.

‘When any lads get an accolade it is good for them - and certainly good for us.

‘In the remaining games, someone could grasp it.’

The sixth-placed Blues presently stand five points short of the automatic promotion spots with a game in hand.

Cook is aware his team have the opportunity to write themselves in Fratton folklore by escaping the bottom division of the Football League.

And he remains impressed with progress since his summer arrival.

He added: ‘You see how quickly we have come and that is great credit not to me or the players but the whole club – Mark Catlin, Tony Brown, Iain McInnes, everyone who has assembled the squad.

‘We have an identity as a club now, in this league a lot of people say we are the best team. The league table wouldn’t say that, but a lot of people would.

‘At least we are finding ourselves as a club and that’s pleasing.

‘We have these games left and need to keep believing in what we are doing.

‘Come the end of the season if we don’t achieve promotion we will have done our best – and if we do everyone will be happy.’