|view Pook's match-by-match record|
Originally a youth team player, Pook made his debut for the first team in October 2003, playing seventy minutes of an LDV Vans Trophy match at Boston in October 2003, that the Town lost 2-1. Though he regularly appeared on the bench later in the season, he didn't make it onto the pitch until the following September, in somewhat different surroundings - coming on as an injury-time substitute in a Carling Cup match at Elland Road, Leeds.
He made his league debut in December 2004, again as a substitute, this time at Bournemouth - but was not used again until April - in the meantime, he was an integral part of the youth team that won the Youth Alliance South West Conference title. Without having started a match in the first team, manager Andy King offered him a professional contract, and he finally made his first start on 23rd April - with the Town out of the promotion race, King began to experiment with youth players, and Pook was the first to benefit when he started the match against Tranmere, and went on to appear in the next two games. During this period, he also helped the youths to an Alliance Cup victory - and though first team duties meant that he was only a substitute in the final at Burnley, he came on to play the majority of the second half plus extra time.
By the time the squad reported for pre-season training, Pook had signed his one year deal, and with a small squad, manager Andy King declared that he wouldn't be scared to utilise any of the youngsters that were making up the first team squad. Pook started the season in an unusual role on the left side of midfield at Barnsley, but slotted back into the centre for the next match, where he remained until mid-November - the only player ever-present to this point of the season. During this period, King regularly praised Pook on his progress, and he bagged his first senior goal for the club, scoring with a shot from the edge of the area in a Carling Cup defeat against Wycombe at the County Ground.
Unfortunately, Pook soon made headlines for the wrong reasons - after missing his first game, sitting out the 1-1 draw at Port Vale on the bench, early the next morning he was arrested for drink driving after being stopped by a police patrol. Eventually banned from driving for nineteen months and fined £300, Pook was also dropped from the first team the following week, with new manager Iffy Onuora stating that he didn't feel it was right to play him, with everything going on behind the scenes. Pook returned to action in December, helping the Town to a 1-0 victory over Rotherham in a vital bottom-of-the-table clash.
After signings of Paul Smith and Andy Gurney, Pook's appearances became more limited in the second half of the season - Onuora stating that with the experienced players coming in, Pook should try to learn from them. He made just two appearances in January and February, before being put straight back into the starting line-up after the Town were defeated 7-1 at Nottingham Forest - and after making four starts in March, he signed another year's contract at the end of the month. Perhaps surprisingly, he made just one more start, in the last match of the season, by which time the Town's relegation to League Two had been confirmed.
After the arrival of new player-manager Dennis Wise, plus fellow midfielders Paul Evans and Curtis Weston in the close season, it was perhaps surprising that Pook started the 2006/07 season in the starting eleven - though as Evans began to gain full fitness, it became harder for Pook to hold down his place - and when Paul Ince also joined, Pook wasn't making the squad for a period. Despite this, Pook declared that the learnings he had made from training with such experienced players had made him "twice the player" he was, and when he did return to action in mid-September, his performance levels were generally much better than in previous seasons. Pook finally scored his first league goal in October, a tap-in during a 3-0 home victory over Grimsby - with Evans injured, Pook remained in the side throughout the month.
The arrival of new manager Paul Sturrock in November coincided with the return to action of Evans - and Pook spent Sturrock's first seven games in charge on the subs bench. When both Evans and Weston got injured though just before Christmas, Pook regained his place into the New Year, scoring his second league goal in January in a 3-1 win at Boston, and he started all but two of the season's remaining matches, as the Town were promoted back to League One at the first attempt.
During the close season, it seemed touch and go as to whether Pook would sign a new contract, but after protracted negotiations, he eventually signed a one year deal. With new midfield signings Craig Easton and Steve Adams now in the fray, it was perhaps a surprise that Pook was named in the starting eleven for the opening game of the 2007/08 season at Northampton - and though he kept his place into September, by the end of the month he was being utilised more as a squad player. Another run in the side came in November and December, but when new manager Maurice Malpas arrived in January, Pook seemed to be used less and less - his final appearance of the season coming in February at Nottingham Forest.
Come the end of the season, Malpas informed Pook that he would be a "squad player at best" for the 2008/09 season - and Pook seemed set to leave the County Ground - but a year's contract extension was triggered by the number of appearances he made in 2007/08, and Pook returned for pre-season training, insisting he was prepared to fight for a place in the first team.
Though the Town struggled to make an impression at the start of the season, Malpas made it very clear that Pook was surplus to requirements - so it was very much a surprise when he was recalled to the starting eleven in mid-October at Southend. Over the following week, the Town put an end to a run of five successive home defeats - with Pook in the middle of the park, they recorded back-to-back victories over Northampton and Oldham. Malpas responded by praising Pook's professional attitude, and he kept his place in the side right up until Christmas.
During this period though, Malpas was sacked - and as it turned out, Pook's days at the County Ground were numbered. When caretaker boss Dave Byrne dropped him to the bench just before the arrival of new boss Danny Wilson, he was to make just four more appearances in a Town shirt, three of which came from the bench. When he was released at the end of the season, Pook admitted that he knew his time was up, and stating his sadness at leaving the club he had supported as a boy.
date of birth