Cook won’t be rushed in Pompey right-back hunt

Paul Cook. Picture: Sarah Standing
Paul Cook. Picture: Sarah Standing
  • Pompey used eight different players at right-back or right wing-back last season
  • Currently there is no right-back in Cook’s 19-man squad

PAUL COOK has pledged not to be rushed into resolving Pompey’s glaring right-back issue.

The Blues boss has recruited seven new faces during an overhaul of his squad this summer.

We have had talks with one or two right-backs, we have gone down the line with one in particular but I didn’t feel it was right for us at the minute

Paul Cook

But there remains no natural right-back in the current 19-man set-up.

At present, the only option is Adam Webster, yet Cook sees the youngster as a central defender rather than full-back.

The search goes on to fill the role, with the manager revealing he has come close to making a signing.

But he is adamant only the right fit will be considered for what has long been a Fratton Park problem position.

Cook said: ‘It’s fair to say we are after a right-back.

‘The chances are we could have a right-back in soon, but we always work for quality.

‘I think supporters will be happy knowing we are going through due diligence rather than just signing any right-back.

‘While we do need one in, the requirements are about meeting a certain criteria.

‘With the way the team plays, having energy in those areas is huge and sometimes to get energy and quality at any level can be difficult.

‘If we can get that criteria right, it’s all well and good. If not, we will keep working away on that one.

‘I wouldn’t like to say we are close to getting one because we are not.

‘We have had talks with one or two right-backs. We have gone down the line with one in particular but I didn’t feel it was right for us at the minute.

‘It’s possibly one we could revisit, it’s certainly not a dead deal, but there are just one or two things which need looking at.

‘I like to meet the players personally before they sign. I like to speak to them and see what their thoughts are about moving to Portsmouth.

‘So we keep on looking.’

The issue is becoming ever more pressing with Pompey’s pre-season kicking off at the Hawks on Saturday, July 11.

Webster would be the sole consideration at present, even if player and manager do not see that as his position.

‘We have got lads within the club at the minute who can play right-back, although there is not a player here I am looking to play there,’ added Cook.

‘Webbo has played there before and if we had a big game tomorrow the likelihood is he will probably play there again.

‘Having spoken to the lad, he knows I genuinely see him as a ball-playing centre-half, and a player we are going to develop there.’