Danny Cowley's message to striker after Portsmouth future was thrown into doubt amid Oxford United and Fleetwood Town interest

Danny Cowley had told Ellis Harrison he still has the opportunity to lead the line for Pompey next season.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 5:00 pm

The Blues head coach is insistent the striker can remain at Fratton Park and have a role to play in his side’s Championship charge next season.

Harrison’s future has been the subject of speculation, with talk of an exit to join League One rivals Oxford United and talk of interest from Fleetwood Town.

That move was put on the backburner, however, in the wake of Cowley failing to land prime attacking target Jayden Stockley, as he turned down Pompey in favour of rivals Charlton Athletic.

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Harrison linked up with the first-team squad as they returned to training on Monday, after being sidelined since March with a knee ligament issue.

And Cowley explained there’s every chance now for the 27-year-old to have an impact moving forward, as he enters the final year of his existing agreement.

He said: ‘We would have liked to have done the number nine, but we’re also really respectful that we’ve got two really good nines in the building in John Marquis and Ellis Harrison.

Ellis Harrison. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages
Ellis Harrison. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘I’ve never talked about Ellis going anywhere else, that’s been other people.

‘We haven’t had the pleasure of working with Ellis.

‘We had him back with the group on Monday and he’s a huge character with a lot of personality.

‘He loves life and has this kind of unbelievable street strength.

‘He has this raw power and we really missed him at the back end of the season, I can’t tell you how good it would’ve been and how much that could’ve helped.’

Harrison has recovered well from his latest injury issue, after incredibly playing on for three games after damaging his lateral knee ligaments against Gillingham last term.

His summer rehab allowed him to join in with full training at the start of the week, before sitting out the last section of the two-hour session at Pompey’s Roko base.

Cowley explained he will continue to work to a specialised programme to build his strength going into the new season.

He added: ‘We’re looking forward to getting Ellis fit.

‘He’s been out since March, so as a consequence his programme has been bespoke and slightly different from the rest of the group.

‘But we’ve been building him gradually, and he’s just getting to the point now where he can do some contact work.

‘What we have to do is take small steps with him and accelerate that rehabilitation process.

‘We’re looking forward to working on the grass with him and having him back.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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