Former Portsmouth, West Ham and QPR boss Harry Redknapp masterminded the timeform squiggle approach to recruitment – now Danny Cowley must do the same at Fratton Park

Danny Cowley should take recruitment inspiration from former Pompey boss Harry Redknapp this summer.

By Sam Cox
Saturday, 28th May 2022, 4:55 am

That’s the view of Blues reporter Jordan Cross, who believes the current Fratton Park chief could take a leaf out of the 2008 FA Cup winner’s book heading into his third transfer window.

The 43-year-old is set to undertake another rebuild this summer, with the aim of challenging for promotion in 2022-23.

But with Cowley operating within a tight but competitive budget, he may need to get creative when it comes to acquiring new recruits.

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That’s something Redknapp mastered during his two spells in charge at Fratton Park, as players such as Paul Merson and Kanu both arrived for free and delivered immense success.

And it’s an approach which Cowley has been advised to replicate as he looks to better last season’s 10th-placed finish.

Cross said on the latest edition of Pompey Talk: ‘Harry Redknapp used to use a racing term when it came to recruitment called a “timeform squiggle”.

‘Basically, it’s a kind of mark on a horse when looking at their form which indicates they’re erratic. Harry was a master of unearthing these players.

Harry Redknapp signed Kanu for free in 2006. Picture: Robin Jones

‘Sometimes, when you haven’t got a budget that’s not going to blow away the division, you have to look for these “timeform squiggles” that have faults.

‘They might pull up lame sometimes, but when you get them going on a run they deliver results.’

Last summer, Cowley signed a number of free agents as he looked to stamp his authority on Pompey.

This included taking risks on Clark Robertson and Louis Thompson, who both arrived at Fratton Park with chequered injury records.

Cross believes the duo could provide the blueprint going forward, after their impressive maiden campaigns.

He added: ‘Look at Clark Robertson, that’s an example. He is a ball-playing defender with a history of injuries.

‘Cowley was willing to take a risk and backed himself to manage his injuries. Louis Thompson is a better example.

‘He was once on £15k-£20k but came on a cheap deal, and the Blues boss managed to unearth that gem and got a number of appearances out of him.

‘That’s where the quality lies in your recruitment and that’s the challenge for Cowley.’