Necessity for creativity signals the axing of Pompey trio
Paul Cook views Pompey's inability to break sides down at Fratton Park as the culprit behind failure to win promotion.
Now he has moved to rectify such a crippling weakness – demonstrating his ruthlessness in the process.
The departure of Brian Murphy is no surprise, a keeper who didn’t convince irrespective of a sizeable amount of clean sheets.
Yet it is Cook’s eagerness to axe Kal Naismith, Adam McGurk and Matt Tubbs which has provided the loudest talking points.
The attacking trio were this evening made available for transfer as Pompey announced their retained list.
Barely 48 hours following elimination from the play-offs in heart-breaking circumstances, Cook blew apart a close-knit squad.
Tears were shed in the away dressing room at Home Park, now the backlash has arrived, culminating in jettisoning members of that squad.
Naismith had been signed for an undisclosed fee from Accrington last summer on a three-year deal.
Yet despite finishing the League Two campaign with goals in successive games against Hartlepool and Northampton, his time is up.
The likeable winger has struggled to convince Cook during his time on the south coast, the boss regularly visably-exasperated from his dug-out position.
There have been undoubted flickers of class, certainly the strike against Northampton will testify, yet not enough to satisfy the manager.
McGurk rose above the drawback of an injury-hampered summer to enjoy a fine first half to the campaign.
The forward netted on his debut during the Capital One Cup clash with Derby, one of three goals in his opening nine matches.
There were also FA Cup match-winners against Macclesfield and Accrington and the point-saving stunner at Oxford United.
However, the last of McGurk’s six goals arrived on December 5 and he ended the campaign 21 matches without netting.
A lethargic substitute outing against Plymouth on Sunday reflected a second half of the season in which form bafflingly eluded him.
As for Tubbs, his Pompey career was over long before his Eastleigh loan, five goals not enough to demonstrate he could perform effectively in Cook’s favoured system.
Too many Fratton draws, too many home blanks, it is essential Pompey discover more creativity next season.
And Naismith, McGurk and Tubbs have paid the price.
– NEIL ALLEN