Exasperated Danny Cowley has passion and modern thinking Portsmouth fans craved - and will fight away
As the ball sought to flee from the heavy Derbyshire rain, on 71 minutes it found welcome refuge among home supporters located in the Main Stand.
Danny Cowley, of course, was against such opportunistic respite, especially with his team trailing 2-1 to Burton.
The Blues’ head coach dashed from the dug-out and negotiated the barrier to enter the stand in pursuit of the errant ball.
As it turned out, his mere presence persuaded a supporter to suddenly return the ball to the pitch, allowing action to commence.
Returning to his technical area, the fourth official gently chastised Cowley over his actions: “Look, I know you’re keen”.
It was a brief incident which perfectly encapsulated the Pompey boss’ passion – and the desperation to initiate inspiration so lacking from his team’s display.
A very different Danny Cowley was glimpsed in the aftermath of an eighth game without victory in all competitions.
The answers to the local media were shorter, the responses a little more guarded, on occasions designed not to reveal too much information. A marked change in his natural conversational delivery.
Pompey’s previous two fixtures had offered encouragement, there were distinct signs that some aspects were clicking into places, both tactically and personnel.
Then Tuesday night arrived. Cowley’s description of a ‘backwards step’ could not be disputed, although it could be argued involved more than a singular step.
Clearly the result and accompanying display hit him hard. As somebody who jokes about being unable to wear a poker face, he could be comfortably read.
Cowley was entitled to be exasperated, likewise his desire not to dig out his players publicly entirely understandable. An experienced manager knows.
The Fratton faithful craved a manager with energy, passion and modern thinking, they wanted a different, progressive, style of play. The 42-year-old ticks every box.
Granted, the Blues’ footballing identity is still in its infancy of development, after all 10 League One matches is nowhere near long enough.
Currently it’s 13th place in a season in which few realistically anticipated an automatic promotion challenge. Nonetheless the position still disappoints.
While media interviews were being conducted on Tuesday night, chief executive Andy Cullen patiently stood in the background, no doubt to offer supportive words once his head coach was free.
In turn, Cowley must lift his playing squad for the visit of Sunderland on Saturday for his first Fratton Park home sell-out, albeit in a reduced capacity.
As the man himself stated: ‘I’m a fighter’. Let’s hope he can drag out the same passion, commitment and intensity from his spluttering playing squad.
Starting with Sunderland.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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