Danny Cowley admits Portsmouth braced for Championship interest in Marcus Harness
Danny Cowley anticipates Championship interest in Marcus Harness as the transfer window enters its final fortnight.
But the Blues boss is adamant the 25-year-old can flourish at Fratton Park, while achieving Republic of Ireland selection ambition.
The winger registered his first goal of the campaign in Saturday’s 2-0 success over Crewe and will be seeking to build on that against Shrewsbury tomorrow night (7.45pm).
While Ronan Curtis continues to be eyed by Championship suitors, Harness also represents a prized asset for Pompey.
The July 2019 arrival from Burton has entered the final year of his Pompey deal, with a club option for an additional 12 months also safeguarding a valuable commodity.
Cowley insists there has yet to be interest declared in Harness – but expects that to change ahead of the August 31 deadline.
He told The News: ‘I think there will be interest from Championship clubs for Marcus, like there will be for Ronan and, no doubt, for our other good players.
‘We understand that, we respect that, and would only be worried if there was no interest for any of our players.
‘I think Marcus has all the qualities to play above this level.
‘He can be whatever he wants to be. At 25, he is a great age – and I believe the best has yet to come.
‘For us, we are working really, really hard with his consistency and that comes with the physical and mental resilience you need to be able to play in a 46-game season.
‘He’s actually trying to do the hardest things on the pitch – creating goals and scoring goals.
‘Sometimes the player can’t always find the same level of consistency as maybe somebody who is just required to stop an opponent or to pass A to B. Whereas he’s trying to do the hardest things.
‘We are actually trying to add to Marcus’ game and I think his work against the ball has been excellent, he has really bought into that.
‘If you always rely on doing the hardest thing in the game – goal creation and scoring goals – to get a consistent mark then you are going to find your performance fluctuates.
‘But if you can actually build a base to your performance, which is doing the basics brilliantly well in and out of possession, then the goal could be the icing on the cake.’
Harness also has Republic of Ireland aspirations.
Despite called up to the squad to train in November, he has yet to make his international debut.
And Cowley believes he can join Pompey team-mates Ronan Curtis and Gavin Bazunu in Stephen Kenny’s international set-up.
Pompey’s head coach added: ‘We don’t welcome clubs coming in for Marcus or any of our players.
‘We understand that it might happen and, if it does, we are ready to act and react accordingly.
‘It’s on our terms. With Marcus, I genuinely think his style can really prosper here.
‘I definitely see an international call-up as soon as possible for him – and it’s something he is really focused on trying to achieve.
‘So we anticipate the Republic of Ireland scouts being at a lot of our games with Gavin and Ronan in the squad as well.
‘If they do, they will see the quality Marcus has on a regular basis.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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