Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley weighs up unleashing ‘outstanding' duo on Doncaster for only second time this season

Danny Cowley is relishing the prospect of unleashing Michael Jacobs and Marcus Harness on opposition defences at the same time during the remaining 17 games of the season.

By Mark McMahon
Saturday, 12th February 2022, 4:55 am

That tantalising probability comes after top-scorer Harness has sat out Pompey’s last two matches – while Jacobs has taken over the mantra as the Blues’ talisman.

Unbelievably, the talented attacking duo have started only one league game together this season, when the Blues beat AFC Wimbledon 2-1 in November.

That match saw both named on the score sheet as Pompey collected the three points on offer.

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However, it’s a forward partnership rarely seen it by the Fratton faithful, with their paths crossing just eight more times this term via cameo appearances from the bench.

With 10-goal Harness seen as the main man for much of the season to date, Cowley has admitted he’s subsequently struggled to find a place for Jacobs in his team.

Yet, since the Republic of Ireland man has went off the boil in recent games, Jacobs has been the one to step up.

Indeed, his past three games have come with three goals and two assists.

Michael Jacobs and Marcus Harness could soon start for Pompey.

Cowley has been resting Harness recently in a bid to freshen his mind and body for the remainder of the season.

He could return to the fold for today’s game against Doncaster.

And Cowley admitting seeing him link up with team-mate Jacobs represents a mouth-watering prospect.

He said: ‘I think Jacobs and Harness playing together would be ideal, wouldn’t it?

‘If you can get both of them on the pitch together then, I think, in terms of goal creation and goal scoring, your chances of doing both increase dramatically, because they’re obviously outstanding players.

‘I think good players can play together.

‘With any formation, when you have the ball, for me, you’re all attackers – even Gavin (Bazunu).

‘When you don't have the ball you’re all defenders, even your number nine.’

Cowley said he would need to strike the right balance in order to get both players in the same starting XI.

That’s something he has struggled with while operating his preferred 3-5-2 formation.

But Jacobs’ impressive showing as a central midfielder in Tuesday night’s win against Burton suggests there’s definitely scope to facilitate both at the same time.

Cowley added: ‘I think the idea is, if you can get your attacking players working really, really hard against the ball defensively, then sometimes you can play more attacking players, which we all ultimately would like to see.

‘You have to try to find the balance, that’s always the key to team selection. Trying to find the right partnerships and compatibility.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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