Cook would consider permanent Craddock return to Pompey

Pompey boss Paul Cook, left, with Michael Poke, Tom Craddock, James Dunne and Paul Jones Picture: Colin Farmery

Pompey boss Paul Cook, left, with Michael Poke, Tom Craddock, James Dunne and Paul Jones Picture: Colin Farmery

  • Craddock scored once in 11 appearances for Pompey
  • At previous club Oxford United he netted 28 times in 88 matches
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PAUL COOK admitted he would consider bringing back Tom Craddock to Fratton Park permanently.

But firstly the striker must convince he remains the player he was.

With Tom you have a good lad who we know is a good player and, if he can get back to the form he had, there is every chance he could be signed

Paul Cook

Craddock is currently training with the Blues in Portugal, having recovered from a career-threatening knee injury.

The 28-year-old, who once scored four goals in a game for Oxford against Cook, has so far impressed Pompey’s boss with his attitude and work-rate.

He remains desperate to reignite a Blues career which has stalled since a last first-team appearance in November 2013, culminating in his release in May.

Now Cook is casting his eye over Craddock – the sole triallist during their six-day Algarve stay.

He said: ‘When Tom joined Portsmouth a few years ago I remember thinking that would be a good signing for the club.

‘He’s a smashing player with good energy and is bright.

‘He’s had a really tough time with injuries so we thought it would be beneficial to give him a platform to not only play football again but possibly play for us again.

‘It is very much the door is open with that one and we will see where it takes us.

‘Tom has done smashing, he is working hard, hasn’t missed a session yet and he is coming along well.

‘We will integrate him into the football for as long as Tom is happy with what we are doing.

‘I think when you are a little bit short on numbers like we are, any addition is good because outwardly it shows strength.

‘With Tom you have a good lad who we know is a good player and, if he can get back to the form he had, there is every chance he could be signed.

‘It’s very much a watch this space one – on-going progress.’

Craddock made only 11 Pompey appearances following his recruitment from Oxford United by Guy Whittingham in May 2013.

His early first-team availability was hampered by injury, although he did return in November 2013 to start three out of four matches.

That included his only Blues goal to date – a far-post header from Ricky Holmes’ cross in a 2-1 home defeat to Scunthorpe.

Craddock made several appearances for the reserves last season, including their final match.

Yet he was among nine players whose contracts were not extended when Cook arrived at the club in May.

Now Pompey’s new boss is having another look – but he doesn’t expect too many other triallists to be present during this pre-season.

Cook added: ‘I don’t particularly expect any more.

‘At the minute the recruitment side of it is more for the immediate rather than bringing in prospects or young lads to develop.

‘Once I put an initial squad in place I think then I can genuinely take on the recruitment side of the club.

‘Going forward we will have a reserve team, but we just want to get the first-team up and running and a level of performance we feel is good – then we can look at other parts of the club.’