The Pompey boss is looking to temporary deals to tie up his window business this month, with as many as three recruits in the pipeline.
And the head coach is also keen on a right-sided defender and powerful striker before the August 31 deadline.
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Cowley has indicated the pace has now quickened with four days of the window remaining, as the mechanics of the loan market are oiled.
He said: ‘We don’t want to lose any of our best players at this time and the board are really supportive of us with that.
‘We also know we’re two or three away if we want to be competitive team in this division.
‘There’s a few experienced players now potentially becoming available.
‘But there’s also the Premier League loans and players caught up in squads, while the Premier League clubs were waiting for the players on international duty this summer to come back.
‘We’re just waiting.
‘We will only be able do loans now really, unless we were able to sell someone.
‘We’ve got to move out to move in. There’s players we don’t really want to move, but will have to if we want to get the balance of the squad right.’
The challenge for Cowley and his recruitment team is to judge how the market will now move as it reaches a crescendo.
The Pompey boss admitted that was something they didn’t do earlier in the window, as rivals showed their financial muscle.
When asked if he’s is confident of judging the remainder of the window, Cowley said: ‘I’m hopeful, but I wouldn’t say confident!
‘We didn’t anticipate the finance before.
‘Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland are huge clubs with huge support.
‘You anticipate their financial clout, but Ipswich have blown everyone away and Wigan have surprised us all with how aggressive they’ve been.
‘You only have to look at their squad depth and bench to know where they are financially at the moment.
‘Then there’s other clubs who’ve signed players we were looking at, who are mid-to-bottom end of League One.’
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