The Cross Word: Views vary on trio - but Portugal absence tells all

Andy Barcham. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Barcham. Picture: Joe Pepler

The likelihood of a triple Pompey departure has generated the full spectrum of emotions from supporters.

A sense of inevitability has melded with appreciation (both at service given and the prospect of their exits) and a fair degree of angst.

It’s on the pitch where Cook is making his decisions, and sentiment is not factored into his thinking.

Interestingly, some have seen fit to advise Paul Cook on the qualities of players, he has at a disposal.

Those opinions, of course are valid, but are slightly dismissive of the fact the Pompey boss’ job is to already be aware of his assets.

Supporters’ views over Andy Barcham seem to gel an acknowledgement at the winger’s talent with frustration at an unfulfilled Pompey career.

It’s a stance echoed by the man himself.

The sight of Barcham picking up the ball and carrying it as far as 70 yards up the pitch, was a recurring theme of his exciting start to the 2013-14 season.

The knowledge he could engage defenders made him a favourite and his efforts were appreciated by supporters, if not always his manager - with playing time restricted under Andy Awford.

But with the promise came a nagging issue over injuries, which particularly hindered his first season at Fratton Park.

It’s a misconception that was the case last term, though, with a lack of managerial favour the greater factor in just six league starts arriving.

Still, it looked as if he was a part of Cook’s plans, although he undoubtedly had a fight on his hands with the summer’s attacking arrivals.

The prospect of a third season in and out of the team, with a young family’s future to consider in the final year of his contract, meant the AFC Wimbledon move was best for all parties.

It’s not so clear if that’s the case with Johnny Ertl, with discussions continuing over a settlement.

There are few players in recent years who have had such a polarising effect with fans as the Austrian.

But there’s no single Pompey squad member who embraced the club’s fight for survival, and emergence into the community era, as much as the 32-year-old. There’s no doubt the Fratton faithful owe him a debt of gratitude for that.

It’s on the pitch where Cook is making his decisions, however, and sentiment is not factored into his thinking.

With one year remaining on his three-year agreement, which placed him towards the head of Pompey’s earners, it remains to be seen how his future will be resolved.

Like it or not, Dunne’s days at Fratton Park appear numbered.

And it’s the prospect of seeing the 25-year-old depart which is causing the greatest ire among supporters.

Dunne has the kind of crash, bang, wallop about his game Blues fans adore. And his wholehearted commitment stood out amid the mediocrity of last season.

Although his continued presence would be of use, the Farnborough-born man doesn’t fit into Cook’s blueprint of how the game is played.

His move to Bromley in Kent doesn’t sit with Cook’s desire for players to located in the vicinity of Portsmouth, either.

The word from Portugal, too, is midfielder Nigel Atangana and Ben Close have both made strong impressions on the Scouser in training. Former Sheffield United man, Michael Doyle, has also been in Cook’s thoughts.

The Blues boss has to publicly leave the door open for the remaining pair, in the event of transfers or settlements stalling.

But players being left out of pre-season tours and training camps, in the past, has been telling when it comes to their futures. Don’t expect things to be any different this time around.