Cook will handle the Fratton heat

Kevin Ball
Kevin Ball

INCOMING boss Paul Cook has been backed to handle the expectancy at Pompey.

And former Blues favourite Kevin Ball backed his old team-mate to bring an expansive brand of football to Fratton Park.

Cook is set to be confirmed as Andy Awford’s successor today, as he arrives from League One Chesterfield.

Despite moving down a division, Pompey’s size will represent a step up from the Spireites for the Scouser.

But Ball, who played at Burnley for two years with Cook, backed him to revel under the pressure.

He believes it will be a challenge to relish.

‘The stature of Portsmouth is bigger than Chesterfield,’ said Ball.

‘If you look at where the club is, though, you could argue it’s the other way around.

‘Chesterfield are a good, well-organised club but Paul will see it as a challenge and a nice step up.

‘The expectation will be higher – but he’ll love that and thrive on that. He’ll enjoy that expectation.

‘Portsmouth are a club close to my heart and I’ll always have a soft spot for them. I feel Paul is a good man to take them forward.’

Ball has no doubt Blues fans will see a fluent passing game under Cook.

He added: ‘Paul’s very passionate about what he does and the people of Portsmouth want to see a manager who displays that.

‘He’ll not suffer fools, but the players will enjoy working under him.

‘He’s shrewd and astute. He’ll be good for Portsmouth.

‘I’ve enjoyed watching his teams play, and can see why they play like they do having played alongside him.

‘He was a gifted footballer and, when I watched Chesterfield, he played a certain way. It’s up to the players now to buy into what he wants to do.’