Danny Cowley targets key area Portsmouth must put right in transfer window to challenge Sunderland, Wigan Athetic, Rotherham United, Plymouth Argyle and Co

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Danny Cowley has identified the critical area Pompey have to improve in the January window if they are to challenge for promotion.

Cowley explained how the statistics underline his team have come up short in some of the key physical aspects of the game, in the moments they have struggled this season.

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The Pompey boss is preparing to reshape his squad in the winter window, with the 43-year-old targeting up to four new additions.

A major area of focus will be ensuring a central defender is added to the squad, with captain Clark Robertson’s absence leaving a hole in the back line.

Cheltenham’s Will Boyle is one of the latest names to be mentioned on that front, with the Robins skipper offering exactly the kind of qualities Cowley believes his team have been short on at times.

He said: ‘We need to understand our own performances.

‘We need to understand what we’re doing well to win, and what we’re not when we lose.

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Pompey boss Danny Cowley. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImagesPompey boss Danny Cowley. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages
Pompey boss Danny Cowley. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘That’s going to make things a lot clearer for us over the type of players you need to improve.

‘We knew when we weren’t doing so well earlier in the season, we were coming up short on the combative parts of the game - so aerial duels and defensive one v ones were two areas.

‘We found they are key contributors to our success.

‘When we perform highly in those areas, our chances of winning are significantly higher.

‘They are two examples of us understanding our performance more, and what we need to bring to the squad to help complement the squad.’

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Much has been made of Pompey’s playing budget this season, and where it stands in the League One list of spending.

Cowley held a meeting with owner Michael Eisner and the board last week and struck an upbeat chord over those discussions.

He may not be able to match the League One heavy-hitters in terms of resources, but the Pompey boss doesn’t feel that is necessarily a bar to producing a successful side.

Cowley added: ‘The best teams don’t always have the best players, but they do have the best complement of players.

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‘It’s about those partnerships and relationships within the squad.

‘It was no surprise to us that when we were short of centre-halves we were really lacking in aerial duels, and we were coming up short in the defensive one v ones as well.’

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