Danny Cowley fears rival interest as he strives to keep talismanic ex-Sunderland and Millwall man at Portsmouth

Danny Cowley is braced for rival interest in his bid to keep Aiden O’Brien at Fratton Park.

Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 11:11 pm

The Irishman entered from the bench to grab an 87th-minute winner against Wigan tonight, capping a sensational comeback from the Blues.

It takes the ex-Sunderland man’s tally to five goals in 16 appearances since arriving on deadline day in January’s transfer window.

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And while Pompey’s head coach wants O’Brien to remain, he is wary of rivals emerging.

Cowley told The News: ‘Aiden said “This is made for me” as he came on, he’s not short of confidence!

‘We hope his future is with us. He is a really clever player, he looks after the ball so well in the final third and has a knack of scoring goals, which is not surprising because he’s technically a very good finisher.

‘We certainly hope we can sign him, no doubt there will be other clubs interested in his services because since he’s come here he’s done really well.

Aiden O'Brien has scored five goals in 16 appearances since joining Pompey on January deadline day. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘For us it's probably not the time to talk about the strategy and what we need to do to try to get him to sign, I just know there's a real will from us to want to sign him.

‘And, having spoken to him, he is really keen to sign here as well.’

O’Brien is one of 12 players out of contract at the season’s end, yet, unlike others, there is no club option.

And Cowley insists talks have already taken place with the 28-year-old over his Fratton Park future.

He added: ‘These things are ongoing as we speak, we talk all the time to our players, it’s always to try to give them clarity,

‘We know that for all human beings, not just footballers, uncertainty can create anxiety and stress and that is never good for performance.

‘So it’s always for us to have clear lines of communication – and it’s a relationship which works, that’s for sure.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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