PAUL COOK has backed Pompey to be pitch perfect at Carlisle.
The manager believes his flair players will get it right in tomorrow’s huge promotion battle at Brunton Park.
The Blues’ attacking talents misfired on a difficult surface at Barnet last weekend.
But the Pompey boss has backed them to get it right as he anticipates a more entertaining spectacle against the Cumbrians.
Carlisle are expecting their biggest gate of the season as the race to reach League One hots up.
A victory would move the Blues to within three points of their opponents in the third automatic promotion place – with a game in hand.
So the stakes are high with 15 games of the campaign left, and Cook knows how tantalising the fixture is.
He feels the large surface at Carlisle’s home will be a world away from what Pompey faced last weekend.
And that’s a major factor in the Scouser looking forward to the showdown.
Cook said: ‘Our flair players didn’t play well on a difficult pitch (at Barnet).
‘It was a bad game of football and we tried to play in the wrong areas of the pitch.
‘At Barnet, we were set up to play a way we couldn’t on that surface.
‘I think every pitch today should be a carpet. There’s no excuses.
‘Then you decide how you want to play. Pitches shouldn’t decide games. How can that be right?
‘But I always look forward to Carlisle, mainly because of the pitch.
‘It’s a lovely pitch and playing surface so it’s a game you look forward to.
‘They try to play and pass the ball. Throw in their league position and the season and it’s got the making of a great game.
‘It’s a great match for people to look forward to.’
After failing to create much in the way of clear-cut opportunities at Barnet, Cook is fully aware that is something which has to remedied tomorrow.
But the Blues boss has a conviction his team will get it right against a side who will be expected to go forward themselves by their supporters.
Pompey are expected to fill their 1,200 ticket allocation for the long, long trip north for the fixture.
The Blues have generally fared well against teams in open games this term.
And Cook is optimistic that will be the case this time around, too.
He added: ‘It’s important we create chances and it’s important we take the chances when they arrive.
‘If you finish above Carlisle this season the chances are you are going to be promoted.
‘I think we’ll be alright. We’ll be alright.
‘We go there to play and we go there to win the game.
‘We’ve got a lot of confidence in what we do and we’ve got a great travelling support going a long way.
‘Carlisle have got a lot of good players and will hurt teams at will.
‘We have to be focused on how we want to play.
‘I feel, if the game becomes open, we will be able to look after ourselves.’