Danny Cowley sets himself exciting Portsmouth challenge as he bids to move on from Blues' past

Danny Cowley insisted he’s striving to give the Fratton faithful something to look forward to as he looks to put his stamp on Pompey.

Saturday, 22nd May 2021, 4:56 am

The Blues head coach believes enough time has been spent reminiscing about the Blues’ past – and it his job to help provide some excitement for the future.

Cowley has started that process by initiating an overhaul of both his playing and coaching staff.

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Player of the year Craig MacGilivray and club captain Tom Naylor are poised to follow suit.

Meanwhile, there’s much debate about Ronan Curtis’ future on the south coast.

In addition, Cowley’s backroom team moving forward will be without Joe Gallen, Jake Wigley and John Keeley – members of previous boss Kenny Jackett’s coaching set-up who have since been told their services are not required.

Appointments in that department are expected soon – as are new additions to the squad, with the head coach keen to have his players in place by the time the Blues report back for pre-season training at the end of June.

Pompey head coach Danny Cowley

It guarantees a hectic few weeks since Pompey’s 2020-21 promotion hopes ended on the final day of the season with defeat against Accrington will continue.

That comes with its own burden of responsibility, with the pressure on Cowley’s shoulders to get it right.

Yet it’s a process the former Lincoln boss admitted was needed if Pompey are to end their wait for Championship football.

And it’s a new beginning for the club which Cowley and his brother Nicky are relishing as they bid to bring the glory days back to Fratton Park.

‘Sometimes you have to make tough decisions,’ Cowley said, when asked about the overhaul that is now under way.

‘Certainly, for this football club we feel it's like new beginnings.

‘There's been change very much at every level of the club and, since I've been here, a lot of people associated with this club look back.

'I understand why we would look back - the Premier League teams, the FA Cup-winning team of 2008 - but I really want to encourage people to look forward.

'Now, if I'm going to get people to look forward, I know we have to really create something that they can look forward to.

‘And that is what we're going to work at relentlessly hard to try to achieve.'

Cowley said he kick-started his rebuild by speaking to chairman Michael Eisner and the board – a meeting that led to his confirmation as manager on a long-term basis.

Next came a review of what they witnessed during their time in charge since March, followed by 30 one-hour meetings with the players to discuss the direction they wanted to club to go.

Cowley admitted some of those talks were ‘difficult’ – but conversations that needed to take place.

He added: ‘We had conversations with Michael and the family and Mark and the board of directors on Sunday evening (after the Accrington game) - and then, from there, Nicky and me sat down.

‘We always write a review of the season, which we then send to the board and that allows us then as a football club to make some decisions.

‘We then spent Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (of last week) communicating those decisions to the players - 30 players and 30 one-hour meetings, which were challenging and difficult.

‘They're never my favourite days of the year as a football manager but they're important meetings and important conversations that need to be had.

‘Some are just about reviewing and reflecting on what has been, and looking to the future and how we can affect that.

'Others are more difficult when players are obviously coming to the end of their contract.

‘We had 12 that were actually out of contract and four loans that were going back to their parent club.

‘So, more difficult conversations than easy ones, for sure.

‘But, ultimately, that's the life of a football manager.'