Cook satisfied with Pompey League Two return

Pompey celebrate during their 4-0 thrashing of Notts County at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey celebrate during their 4-0 thrashing of Notts County at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler

The season Paul Cook last guided a team out of League Two, 81 points were gloriously sufficient.

This time around the haul wouldn’t even buy Pompey a top-four finish.

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler

Such are the vagaries of football as Cook strives to break the 80-point barrier in the final fixture of the league campaign.

Fratton Park victory for Pompey over runaway champions Northampton Town on Saturday would take them to 81 points for the season.

Curiously, Cook won the 2013-14 League Two title at Chesterfield with only three more points.

Behind them, Scunthorpe and Rochdale both finished on tallies of 81 to secure promotion in second and third places respectively.

Fans want to look back at points we have thrown away, but everyone gets beat, everyone loses games

Paul Cook

Fast forward two years and 83 points could be enough to automatically escape the bottom division of the Football League.

Regardless, Pompey presently clutch 78 points – their second-highest return in 23 years.

And with the play-offs also booked, Cook remains satisfied with the Blues’ progress.

He said: ‘Come the end of the season, whatever points we have is what we have deserved, I don’t have any issues.

‘If that is 78 points then that is what we deserve – and then we can all reflect.

‘Fans want to look back at points we have thrown away but everyone gets beat, everyone loses games.

‘We have actually done alright this year.

‘I believe if you get to 80 points you can genuinely say you have had a good year, that is my honest opinion, even if you are not promoted.

‘To get 80 points means, with all due respect, you have won a lot of footy games and done well.

‘As you look down the league, there is a level of acceptance in what is acceptable.

‘To get 70-plus points is normally the play-offs.

‘For me any team who gets 70-plus points has had an acceptable season.

‘If you get below 70 points that is where the problems come for all managers. Unfortunately they get sacked that quick now.

‘A couple of years ago at Chesterfield we got 84 points to win the title. This season that might not get you into the top three.

‘Season by season it changes but we haven’t done badly.’

In the campaigns since Chesterfield’s promotion, Burton amassed 94 points as champions last term, while Northampton presently have 96 with a match remaining.

As for automatic promotion, Accrington, Oxford United and Bristol Rovers are scrapping it out for the final two spots.

And Pompey watch on.

Cook added: ‘By the time we look back, our lads haven’t done a lot wrong this year.

‘They have had a great FA Cup run by getting to the fourth round, beat Derby in the Capital One Cup, happily gone out of a competition we were okay with going out of (Johnstone’s Paint Trophy) and are in the play-offs.

‘Sometimes I just wonder where all the criticism comes from.’