Ex-Norwich City and Luton Town signings' chances of Portsmouth debuts against Crewe Alexandra as squad is bolstered by returns
Danny Cowley welcomed strength in depth within his Pompey ranks for the first time this season.
And the Blues boss outlined his thinking over the inclusion of new boys Joe Morrell and Louis Thompson against Crewe Alexandra this weekend.
Cowley trained with a group of 22 players yesterday, with all of those men coming from within his senior ranks.
His numbers were bolstered by the arrivals of Louis Thompson and Joe Morrell this week, to strengthen Pompey’s options in the middle of the park.
Morrell is ready to go straight into contention, but Cowley has a judgement call to make on Thompson who has been put on a tailored programme to help avoid the injuries which have hampered his career.
There’s good news over Paul Downing and Ellis Harrison, however, with both men back in contention after absences through a hamstring injury and coronavirus respectively.
Cowley said: ‘We’re in a pretty good place.
‘For the first time it feels like we’re a group and there’s some strength in depth.
‘Joe trained with the group and we’re taking a long-term view on Louis and doing a lot of work behind the scenes with him, to get his body in the place we’d like it to be before we really start to make the in-roads we like.
‘He’s trained though, and we’ll make that decision over whether we make him available.
‘We’d like him available, but I have to look at the bigger picture and his training programme.
‘We have a decision to make on that.’
The double arrival of Thompson and Morrell gives Pompey the midfield cover they lacked at Shrewsbury last weekend, as Shaun Williams picked up a pre-match injury and defender Connor Ogilvie deputised.
That is a big positive for Cowley as he attempts to develop a clear identity for his side this season.
He added: ‘We’ve now got four central midfielders and we’ve worked really hard to get to that point.
‘That’s obviously a real positive and gives us so much tactical flexibility.
‘Now it’s about trying to bring the group together.
‘We’re still really early in our match relation, so there’s lots of work to do on the training pitch but the group are really open-minded.
‘The more we work and rehearse, the more we get that joined-up thinking.’
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