Craig Westcarr denies Pompey rift

Craig Westcarr Picture: Joe Pepler
Craig Westcarr Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Striker leaves for Mansfield Town
  • Westcarr denies personality clash with Cook led to departure
  • Front man believes club have right man to lead promotion push

CRAIG WESTCARR insisted there was no personality clash with new boss Paul Cook that led to his Pompey exit.

The former Walsall striker has joined League Two rivals Mansfield Town after leaving Fratton Park by mutual consent to mark the end of his one-year stay.

Cook made a similar decision in allowing the striker to leave in one of his first acts as Chesterfield boss.

But Westcarr maintains he has no issue with the manager, although he feels he was not given the opportunity to shine during his season at the Blues.

Westcarr said: ‘I spoke to Paul Cook and we had a good, long chat.

‘I was on the bench a lot last season and he said “you can’t be doing that next season”.

‘He will obviously bring in some new players and just outlined that it was best to depart.

‘He was fine – he was brilliant, to be fair.

‘It was one of those things at Chesterfield. He wanted to bring in his own players and clear the decks. Unfortunately, I was one of those players.

‘We’ve never fallen out or had an argument – it has always been respectful.

It was nothing personal. I keep seeing people saying Cook and Westcarr don’t get on, but it’s nothing like that really

Craig Westcarr

‘He can get players in who are suited to him and you’ve just got to respect that.

‘It was nothing personal. I keep seeing people saying Cook and Westcarr don’t get on, but it’s nothing like that really.’

Signed by former boss Andy Awford, the 30-year-old started the season in the side but then saw his first-team chances become increasingly limited.

‘I don’t regret the move – I absolutely loved it in Portsmouth,’ said Westcarr.

‘I loved the area but the football side didn’t go the way I thought it would go.

‘The previous manager didn’t give me the opportunities I was hoping to get.

‘He probably didn’t have enough faith in who he signed and enough trust in his players – that’s just my honest opinion.

‘There was more time sat on the bench, which wasn’t great for me.

‘Coming from Walsall and having done really well, I didn’t really expect that.

‘I’m not a player that likes being left out.

‘I don’t want to do that. I could easily sit on the bench, pick up my money and be a pain.

‘But I’m not like that. I want to have a challenge and I want to be involved.’

Although Westcarr has become the latest casualty of Cook’s reign, the striker believes Pompey are in for a bright future.

He added: ‘They have appointed a good manager and I haven’t got a bad word to say about him.

‘That was needed and I think they will be on the right track with him.

‘I would be really surprised if they are not up there challenging for promotion.’

Meanwhile, Danny East – who was released by Pompey at the end of the season – has joined Grimsby Town.