Cook backing Cobblers to battle with Pompey for promotion

IMPRESSED - Portsmouth boss Paul Cook believes the Cobblers will be one of his team's main challengers for promotion this season (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
IMPRESSED - Portsmouth boss Paul Cook believes the Cobblers will be one of his team's main challengers for promotion this season (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
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Portsmouth boss Paul Cook believes the Cobblers will be right in the promotion mix with his side come the end of the season.

Cook was a happy man after seeing Pompey snatch a dramatic 2-1 win at a packed Sixfields on Saturday, substitute Conor Chaplin delivering an 86th-minute winner for his team with his first touch of the ball.

The Liverpudlian was understandably delighted to claim the maximum points that ensure his team are now just three points off the top of Sky Bet League Two, but was also impressed by Northampton.

The defeat saw the Cobblers slip to second in the table while Pompey are fourth, and Cook fully expects both teams to be battling it out for promotion when they meet again on the final day of the season at Fratton Park.

“Northampton are going to be one of our rivals for promotion, without a doubt,” said Cook.

“They play the game in a good manner, they play in a formation very similar to ourselves, and have good players at the top of the pitch.

“They are involved in good games all of the time now, and that is what people want to see.

“I thought it was a great atmosphere at Northampton, but funnily it was as relaxed as I have been this season at a game.

“I found it strange for such a big game, but I just felt ‘we’re okay here’, although that doesn’t mean I knew we were going to win.”

Indeed, Cook admitted that the Cobblers’ prowess from dead-ball situations was a genuine concern - and that he couldn’t look as Joel Byrom’s string of late corners had his team under sustained pressure.

“I was relaxed, but had my eyes shut then,” said Cook.

“To be fair, the standard of set-pieces was a credit to Northampton, it was really good.”