Danny Cowley insists there's work to do for Luton Town arrival Joe Morrell and Portsmouth after Doncaster Rovers display

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Joe Morrell will need time to hit the levels he’s capable of achieving to drive Pompey’s promotion bid.

And Danny Cowley admitted there’s a host of Blues players still coming to terms with what he requires from them to achieve success this term.

Pompey eked out a 0-0 draw at Doncaster on Saturday, as they dropped their first points of the season at the Keepmoat Stadium.

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The game saw the Blues pick up their fourth clean sheet on the spin, however, in a see-saw clash in which both sides enjoyed periods in the ascendancy.

Morrell was given his full debut against Richie Wellens’ side, but couldn’t gain a foothold as the home side won the first-half midfield battle.

The Welsh international was withdrawn after 59 minutes for Shaun Williams, which helped prompt a shift in the balance of play.

Cowley pointed out Morrell and a host of his team-mates are either still building fitness, or adjusting to the game idea he’s trying to impress upon his men.

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Joe Morrell made his full debut at Doncaster (Photo by Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com)Joe Morrell made his full debut at Doncaster (Photo by Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com)
Joe Morrell made his full debut at Doncaster (Photo by Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com)

When asked about Morrell’s display, Cowley said: ‘I think if you look at the performance in the first half there are a couple coming in that are still trying to get to their fitness levels, still trying to get the way that the team wants to play.

‘I also thought that some who've played all of the games looked tired in the first half.

‘Now you know it’s psychological, because second half we were able to find our level physically.

‘But sometimes this happens when the games are coming thick and fast.

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‘I think we are disappointed not to win always. Football is a 90-minute game and I thought we played well second and got on the front foot and in the ascendancy.

‘We could’ve easily got three goals in the second half with that display.

‘I thought first half we started well, but didn’t do well enough in terms of our basics.

‘We talk about doing basics, the basics of the game and the technical execution.

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‘Also just our play on the ball. Sometimes it’s the players around them not making enough angles, or not working hard enough to be an option to be available for the person on the ball - so there’ll be lots to take.’

Cowley made three changes for the Doncaster game, as he switched up his side after an unchanged team picked up a 1-0 win over Shrewsbury on Tuesday night.

One switch was enforced with Gassan Ahadme replacing the injured Marcus Harness, while the head coach opted to bring in Morrell and Connor Ogilvie for Williams and Lee Brown.

Cowley added: ‘We just tried to freshen it up with one or two who were feeling the demands to what has been a very busy start to the season.

‘We’re just resting Lee.

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‘Lee has played two games, and we found that the two times we played Lee in a three-game week last season he picked up injuries and that really hurt us.

‘We thought he’d play actually because we didn’t think Clark (Robertson) would do. We thought Connor would play left centre-half, but Clark came through which was a positive.’

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