Pompey’s head coach declined to reveal the identity of candidates to replace their leading scorer against Rochdale on Good Friday.
Yet clearly attacking trio Ronan Curtis Ryan Williams and Marcus Harness all come into the equation.
There is also the possibility of 19-year-old Alfie Stanley being named on the bench for the clash against League One’s bottom side.
And Cowley is relishing coming up with the solution to a problem which could yet impact their promotion push.
He said: ‘There’s definitely a challenge there in terms of the number nine position, but we accept that challenge and are looking forward to trying to find the answers.
‘Absolutely we have people who can do it. I think we’ve got really good players, tactically flexible players. We can be tactically flexible ourselves too and try to help the player in that position.
‘It’s going to be a player who is slightly out of position and we’re going to work really hard to give them some hard and fast rules.
‘In terms of our options, I’m going to try to answer without giving too much away!
‘We have probably 3-4 different options that we could use and that we might utilise as the game unfolds. I think we have to try to find the best way for this group against this opponent.
‘It’s always about some adaptability and some flexibility, but never coming away from our principles and our game idea.
‘It excites me that we’ve got to find some answers to a question that probably hasn’t been asked of us in recent times.’
Curtis, who today returned from international duty with the Republic of Ireland, remains the most likely to serve in a central striking role.
He played there three times at the end of Kenny Jackett’s Pompey reign, while has experience of the position from his Derry days.
That would allow Michael Jacobs to play on the left-hand side of midfield, with Williams operating behind Curtis in the same role he occupied at Shrewsbury.
Cowley added: ‘What do I want from my number nine? We like them to be our first defender, we like to defend early, we love them to energise, be team orientated. When in possession, to carry goal threat and have some really good movement at the top end of the pitch.
‘We like our number nines to be able to penetrate, link, and be a good reference for the team.
‘It’s not an easy position. I suppose this is why the guys get paid the big money in the number nine position.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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