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Fixture News

Cowley: Players Need To Get Up To Speed

Boss discusses importance of Cambridge tie

10 January 2022

Danny Cowley
Photo: Graham Hunt

Pompey will look to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Papa John’s Trophy when they visit Cambridge on Tuesday evening.

The match comes off the back of a 3-2 victory over Exeter in the last 32 of the competition in Devon on Friday evening.

Ronan Curtis came off the bench and scored two late goals to turn the tie on its head and seal progress in dramatic fashion.

But Danny Cowley also thinks their next contest provides a valuable opportunity to find some more rhythm following the long gap without a game over the festive period.

The Blues boss said: “We did well in the first half at Exeter and then lost our way in the second. There there was some learning for us to take from minutes 45 to 80.

“We were really pleased for Ronan on Friday night – he has the personality and character to be able to turn a game like that.

“They were two really good – and different – finishes. There was a spring in his step in training and that’s good to see.

"A number of players have come back available to us and we need to get them up to speed, so they can contribute in the coming weeks and months."

Danny Cowley

“Winning the game against Cambridge is important to us, but at the same time, we have to get time into certain players’ legs as we move through a very busy January.

“A number of players have come back available to us and we need to get them up to speed, so they can contribute in the coming weeks and months.

“Clark Robertson and Ryan Tunnicliffe have got some more training, which is a real positive, and we got 30 minutes into Louis Thompson on Friday.”

Pompey’s next opponents caused an FA Cup upset at the weekend by winning 1-0 at top-flight Newcastle to reach the fourth round.

Cowley said: “We congratulate Cambridge – Mark Bonner, Gary Waddock and all their players – for an amazing achievement.

“We saw last Monday how difficult they are to play against and it was a very competitive game. We have a lot of respect for them.

“They’ve got a very down to earth and humble group, with a lot of depth to their squad. You can see that from their results in this competition this season.

“We anticipate that they will make some changes and we’ll make some as well. We’re still trying to find some rhythm and another 90 minutes on Tuesday will set us up well.”


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