Pompey boss rules out large-scale summer changes

Paul Cook has ruled out widespread summer changes '“ regardless of Pompey's promotion fate.

Thursday, 17th March 2016, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 5:41 pm
Pompey full-back Ben Davies Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues have six of their first-team squad out of contact at the end of the campaign, plus four loan signings.

These include Ben Davies, Gareth Evans, Ben Tollitt, Danny Hollands, Brandon Haunstrup and Brian Murphy.

Talks are continuing to keep Davies at Fratton Park, so far without an agreement being reached.

Last summer Cook staged a massive overhaul of the squad he inherited, with 14 players departing – and only Jed Wallace attracting a fee.

In turn there were 14 arrivals, including free-agents Davies, Evans, Tollitt and Murphy.

Amid Pompey’s focus on a promotion push, Cook continues to weigh up the futures of his existing players.

But he does not expect large-scale alterations to a team which is currently sixth in League Two.

He said: ‘It is ongoing. If I thought a lad should be given a new contract he would be given one now.

‘But for the lads out of contract there is no big deal.

‘This summer at the club – no matter what went on for the rest of the campaign – our amount of change at the club won’t be huge.

‘We are going to get to that point eventually where there won’t be many signings.

‘The signings will have a big impact on us as a team, which will make you better and over a period of time will sustain success, that is how teams should be built.

‘Unfortunately, today, it is after the game, the phone-ins, Twitter, every manager is getting the sack now. Every manager’s head gets called for and that’s the sadness of the game.

‘I’m the same manager which left Accrington that left Fratton Park on Saturday. That is just football.

‘No matter what, I believe in my tenure of this club and we will go forward.

‘If that’s not fast enough for people, I can’t do anything about that unfortunately.’

The loans of Marc McNulty, Kieron Freeman, Matt Clarke and Ryan Fulton all expire at the season’s end.

Michael Smith’s 93-day spell from Swindon ends next month.

Of those permanently on the Blues’ books, Davies remains the most high-profile whose contract is nearing its end.

The right-back has made 41 appearances to date, putting him in firm contention to be Pompey’s player of the season.

Talks over a fresh deal began in December, yet still nothing has been finalised.

Davies told The News earlier this week the situation was becoming a ‘concern’.

And Cook reiterated his desire to retain the services of the 34-year-old former Sheffield United player.

He added: ‘We have offered him a new contract and they can’t agree terms, so we obviously want him to stay.

‘If people don’t want you to stay you don’t get offered a new contract!’