Danny Cowley delivers emotive rallying cry to his Portsmouth 'underdogs' ahead of Swindon trip
Defiant Danny Cowley has challenged his ‘Pompey ‘underdogs’ to defy the odds by claiming play-off qualification.
The Blues may be separated from sixth place merely by goal difference at present, yet injuries continue to stack up.
Ben Close could be absent for almost four weeks with a groin problem, joining Ellis Harrison, Jordy Hiwula, Michael Jacobs, Alex Bass and Lee Brown on the sidelines.
In addition, Andy Cannon is struggling with a back problem and deemed usable for just 20 minutes a match.
Nonetheless, Cowley had demanded a siege mentality as he seeks to break back into the play-off positions during the final five matches of the League One campaign.
Starting with tomorrow night’s trip to bottom club Swindon (6pm).
The Blues’ head coach said: ‘We are going to find a way, we are going to stay really positive and we are going to work around it.
‘The other alternative is what? Moan, whinge, de-energise everybody, de-energise the support base, de-energise the players, de-energise the staff, see the negative in the situation?
‘This is what it is. These are the cards we’ve been dealt, this is what we’ve got, what a brilliant achievement this would be.
‘We are Portsmouth Football Club and are almost the underdog now. Considering what has happened and where we are, you could argue we are the underdog at this moment.
‘We need a siege mentality. We’ve got a small group, but are going to be tight knit, we are going to be together, we are going to see the best in each other – and we are going to find a way.
‘To be fair to the supporters, they’ve had times like that in the past, so that has no doubt been developed.
‘Going forward, hopefully we can teach them how to be really good winners.’
Pompey’s attacking options have been hardest hit of all.
Currently, rookie striker Alfie Stanley is the only alternative to quartet John Marquis, Ryan Williams, Ronan Curtis and Marcus Harness.
And the youngster, whose own Fratton Park future remains unclear, has still to be utilised off the bench.
Cowley added: ‘When you’ve got a really good bench – and I call it a sexy bench – with lots of options, you kind of want to look behind you all the time and think “What can I do?”, “How can I do it?”, “How can I affect this game?”.
‘We are just limited at the moment. We have good players on the bench, it’s just that they all play the same position.
‘We’ve got lots of defenders, I can definitely see out the game, I can park the bus, that is for sure. But I like attacking changes and want to win the game by more.
‘We can keep talking about it, but there’s nothing we can do about it. So let’s just put the energy into what we can.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
The News has launched a subscription offer which gives you unlimited access to all of our Pompey coverage, starting at less than 14p a day.
You can subscribe here to get the latest news from Fratton Park - and to support our local team of expert Pompey writers.