Paul Cook has given his backing to goalkeeper Brian Murphy.
After being criticised for conceding the goals in the 2-1 defeat at Notts County, the former QPR glovesman then made a key error that cost his side a goal in the 2-1 FA Cup win over Macclesfield.
With Murph playing regularly, I think he can only improve so let’s see over the next 10 gamesPaul Cook
In fairness, the 32-year-old then went on to produce some good saves in the same game and then turned in a sound display in the 0-0 draw with AFC Wimbledon last week.
But while Cook has been pleased with his keeper’s response to the Cup clanger, he also knows it’s down to the current number one to convince any doubters.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Carlisle, Cook said: ‘I thought Brian Murphy’s performance after his mistake was as good a performance as you could get from a goalkeeper.
‘To perform the way he did after that mistake was great credit to him.
‘I think he showed what a good keeper he is after that.
‘Could he have done better at Notts County – of course he could have.
‘And he should have done better with the goal against Macclesfield.
‘He made a terrific save with the long-range shot and he could have crumbled, but he didn’t.
‘Is he a normal human goalkeeper – yes.
‘But lads also know that we can’t keep making the same mistakes.
‘As Portsmouth manager, we can’t get beaten with me making the same excuses.
‘Eventually, something has to give.’
Cook has already shown he is a manager who will back his players, rather than swing the axe at the first sign of a mistake.
And the Blues boss believes some long-overdue, regular first-team football will improve Murphy’s sharpness.
‘With Murph playing regularly, I think he can only improve so let’s see over the next 10 games,’ said Cook.
‘All players need that backing sometimes. Management is tough because you’ve got to back them, drop them and cuddle them.
‘Sometimes players just need that backing to have that bit of extra confidence.’
Murphy got the nod to start the first seven games of the League Two campaign, before a groin injury struck.
Last season’s number one, Paul Jones, then took over but picked up a knee ligament injury in his first league outing and is still sidelined.
With Michael Poke also injured, Aaron McCarey was then drafted in on loan and played six times before Murphy returned to the side against Mansfield (October 24).
But Cook believes his goalkeepers are still coming to terms with the fact that they can go for long periods of inactivity during a match.
He added: ‘If you want to be a goalie, play in goal for us because you don’t have a lot to do.
‘I think it sometimes makes it more difficult when you are not involved in the game.’