Is Paul Cook the right choice for Portsmouth?

Fratton Park

Portsmouth have chosen Paul Cook as the successor to Andy Awford following an impressive two and a half years at Chesterfield.

Portsmouth have had a turbulent time in the last decade and it hasn't been easy for the ardent Pompey supporters. Sitting in the basement of the Football League, the club now seem to have solved their off-field problems, but much work is to be done if they are to start working their way back up the leagues.

Two seasons in League Two and the club haven't flirted with the play-offs as of yet; just two mid-table finishes to their name. Guy Whittingham, Richie Barker and Andy Awford have overseen their time in League Two with only the latter able to generate any sort of momentum.

They have now prised Paul Cook away from League One side Chesterfield, fresh from a play-off semi-final defeat to Preston North End. This move has cost Portsmouth a reported £250,000 according to the Daily Mail after they met the former Accrington Stanley boss' release clause from The Spireites.

The appeal of Portsmouth Football Club has obviously proved enough for Cook to drop down a level after achieving so much success with Chesterfield. He is just the second manager in 15 years to quit another club to become Pompey manager (the other is Harry Redknapp). Last season he led Chesterfield to the League Two title, and was close to back-to-back promotions this season.

The appeal of Portsmouth is obvious. The fan base alone is enough of an attraction. Who wouldn't want to be roared on week in week out by those dedicated fans? There is also a desire for the club to get back to the highest level in English football, albeit this time without breaking the bank to do so.

Cook's previous work has to be commended. This season in January he lost his top goalscorer in Eoin Doyle who departed to join Cardiff City after a fantastic first half of the season, The club never really replaced Doyle, but still managed to finish in sixth place, playing some attractive football along the way.

Although his first job at Southport only lasted seven months, his next role saw him win four trophies for Irish side Sligo Rovers. Cook's jobs have always involved working with modest budgets, which is helpful for any club, and would be pleasing for any chairman.

His first task will be to try and keep hold of Jed Wallace who was once again a standout player for the club this season. He is sure to have admirers in the Championship. Either way Cook will need to assemble a squad that has the fight to get out of a tough league.

The main positive Portsmouth fans can look to is that at Chesterfield he developed a side that worked for him and played for him. There were better squads than Chesterfield in League One this season, but they were a tough team to play against, and Cook will be looking to turn Fratton Park into the fortress it used to be and adopt a similar feeling within the team.

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