Danny Cowley in hunt for young Premier League and Championship talent as he seeks to end Portsmouth loan failings
Danny Cowley is targeting finally unlocking loan market potential for Pompey.
The head coach is eyeing the Premier League and Championship for prodigious talent to drive his Fratton Park ambition.
It’s an approach which has this season paid dividends for play-off finalists Blackpool and Lincoln, with a total of six loanees starting Sunday’s Wembley occasion.
In comparison, for many years the Blues have struggled to integrate young loan recruits into their side on a consistent basis.
Matt Clarke is arguably the last success story following his initial loan arrival from Ipswich in 2015-16, going on to become an outstanding performer in 175 appearances.
Cowley points to Emile Smith Rowe, who he took from Arsenal on loan in January 2020 as Huddersfield boss, as an example of how youngsters can flourish under his charge.
And he’s eager to pursue a similar loan policy to benefit the Blues.
He told The News: ‘It’s not just Premier League loans, we will use the whole loan market. We have to use it.
‘We must use the loan market so we can get really good value and really good players who not only will help improve our team and starting XI, but will actually help the assets we already have at the club.
‘If you put good players around our best assets then that will help you play to your best.
‘When we speak to Premier League clubs, we explain our game idea, our way of working, how we coach, how we think we can develop players, how we think their players can come in and fit into our way of working.
‘And a lot of clubs are also aware of the Emile Smith Rowe story.
‘To be able to take some of the Premier League and Championship’s best players, they must trust us with looking after their youngsters.’
Pompey’s poor use of the loan market has been obvious for a long time.
Although Ben Thompson was an outstanding presence from Millwall in the first half of 2018-19, he was already an established performer.
So often, young loaness have been condemned to bit-part performers, including Spurs’ Harvey White this season.
The teenager started just six matches after arriving in January, totalling 21 appearances and one goal.
In contrast, play-off winners Blackpool had Dan Ballard (Arsenal) and Elliot Embleton (Sunderland) lining up at Wembley.
In addition, Ellis Simms (Everton) was injured the day before the final, ruling him out.
As for Lincoln, they featured Alex Palmer (West Brom), Brennan Johnson (Forest), Morgan Rogers (Manchester City) and Timothy Eyoma (Spurs) in that 2-1 play-off final loss.
Cowley added: ‘We’ve had some really good loan stories throughout our time.
‘I think Lincoln have brilliant recruitment, although I am biased because I appointed them!
‘We appointed Jez George as head of football, who is outstanding, while Marc Tracy is chief scout.
‘Our background is working with young people.
‘How do you make players better? It’s through outstanding coaching provision and – on and off the pitch – and a really relevant games programme.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
There’s a shake-up going on at Fratton Park and you don’t have to miss a thing.
You can now get all our Sports coverage for less than 11p a day when you use the discount code PROJECTREBUILD25 at the checkout.
Tap or click here to sign up before June 8 and show our expert Pompey writers your support.