Danny Cowley addresses whether Portsmouth hat-trick hero Ellis Harrison is physically ready to face MK Dons

Ellis Harrison is in the frame to retain his Pompey starting spot against MK Dons.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 5:26 pm

That’s the verdict of Danny Cowley, who insists he has no qualms about handing the striker successive starts for the first time since March 2.

Harrison registered an impressive hat-trick in Tuesday night’s 4-3 defeat at AFC Wimbledon.

His Papa John’s Trophy outing marked only his second appearance under Cowley – and a first start since the head coach’s March arrival.

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The former Ipswich man has been sidelined by a long-term knee injury followed by coronavirus in a frustrating 2021.

Yet Pompey’s boss shrugged off concerns over whether Harrison is physically ready for successive appearances.

And he’s under consideration to face MK Dons on Saturday (3pm) in the search for League One goals.

Cowley told The News: ‘He scored three goals at Wimbledon. When a forward scores three goals it gives them a confidence and level of belief that sometimes can mentally be bigger than the physical.

Ellis Harrison completes his Pompey hat-trick in Tuesday night's 5-3 defeat at AFC Wimbledon in the Papa John's Trophy. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘Ellis is available to select. He has trained for quite a while now, his numbers were very good (at Wimbledon).

‘Forget his goals, the physical output in terms of his volume, running 12k, in terms of his high speed and high intensity, it was good, close to 1,000 metres.

‘He scored three goals and is in a good moment. He has fought hard to get into this moment, so Ellis is right at the forefront of my mind.’

The last time Harrison started consecutive Pompey matches was February/March, when he lined up against Gillingham and Doncaster.

It turned out the 27-year-old was playing through a serious knee injury, which would rule him out for the remainder of the campaign.

At Plough Lane, the striker provided a selection dilemma for Cowley by netting a hat-trick.

Having turned down the opportunity to leave Fratton Park during the transfer window, it was a timely display from Harrison.

Although Cowley claims there has been no discernible change in the Welshman’s confidence since the treble.

Pompey’s head coach laughed: ‘He’s noisy on a quiet occasion, he’s never going to be a librarian!

‘He has been pretty Ellis around the place since Tuesday.’

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