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Fixture News

Cowley: The Missing Piece Of The Jigsaw

Boss looking for his side to improve in the final third

13 April 2021

Danny Cowley
Photo: Joe Pepler/PinPep

Danny Cowley is happy with a lot of what he has seen since being appointed Pompey’s new head coach.

But he is still searching for an improvement from his troops when they get nearer the opposition area.

A four-match winning run came to a grinding halt when Burton left the south coast with all three points at the weekend.

Now, ahead of this evening’s League One fixture at Crewe, Cowley wants to see Pompey develop a clinical edge.

The Blues boss said: “In the final third we certainly need more penetration and to move the ball quicker than we did on Saturday.

“Once you get that, the decision making and execution naturally improves as a consequence, so there’s work for us to do.

“To be fair to the players, we’ve worked really hard in the first two thirds of the pitch and how we play against the ball with our defensive organisation and press.

“The last part of the jigsaw is always the finishing phase and you can’t start there as a coach. You have to start at the beginning.

"In the final third we certainly need more penetration and to move the ball quicker."

Danny Cowley

“It takes time and we’re in a transitional period at the moment, but we want to accelerate that process as quickly as we can.”

Pompey face a Crewe side that slumped to a 6-0 defeat on home soil to play-off chasing Oxford on Saturday.

Cowley said: “We know that – prior to their past three games – they’ve had an outstanding record at Gresty Road.

“Crewe have got some really good young players, with a clear understanding of how they want to play.

“They can be really dangerous if you allow them to get into their flow, so we expect to see the best version of them.”

Lee Brown will be absent for the Blues after suffering a hamstring injury against Burton, while John Marquis is also a doubt, despite completing a three-match ban.

Cowley said: “We’re awaiting the results of Lee’s scan, but the early prognosis is that it’s quite a low level, so we’re hopeful it will be shorter-term.

“John’s had this recurring ankle issue and it’s not quite right, so we’ve tried to settle it down with a couple of injections.

“We’re not quite sure whether we’ll have him available for Crewe and have to take a long-term view because we don’t want to rush him back.”


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