Has the Danny Cowley bubble burst? Is this team good enough? - your Portsmouth questions answered

Readers have been sending in their questions after Pompey’s goallless draw at Crewe.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 12:39 pm

After delivering four successive wins following his appointment, Danny Cowley’s side have now picked up just one point from their past two matches and dropped to sixth in the League One table.

Unfortunately, the honeymoon period appears over and subjects tackled are if the Cowley bubble has burst, if the players are good enough to deliver promotion and the summer transfer window.

Has the Cowley bubble all of a sudden burst?

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S Elliott

No, I don't think it has. Let's be fair, Pompey have picked up 13 points from a possible 18 since the Cowleys arrived, which is automatic promotion form.

However, the proverbial new manager bounce has seemingly come to a somewhat premature end – which was always going to happen.

That injection of adrenalin and impetus the brothers added, which was so evident in wins over Ipswich and Shrewsbury, couldn't last forever.

Danny Cowley looks dejected after Pompey's goalless draw at Crewe. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

The ideas they're implementing are slowly being taken on board by the players, who are all embracing the new philosophy.

But this fresh way of playing contrasts to Kenny Jackett's pragmatic brand he championed.

Results in the past two games haven't been ideal but there's still positivity and belief in the dressing room.

Look how Paul Cook has failed to get a tune out of Ipswich since taking charge. Things could be a lot worse.

Was interesting to read Danny Cowley talk about body language, attitudes and distress signals after the Crewe game.

That appeared pretty evident under Kenny Jackett - and not just this season. It's clear the new manager sees it as a problem.

But is it too little too late? Is it too far ingrained in some of these players?

Graham Hudson

Well observed. It seemed like Cowley wanted to get the point across that it was a slight issue, but was careful with his words and didn't want to hang any of his players out to dry.

We've seen in the past that Brett Pitman could show his frustrations at team-mates quite openly, while John Marquis and Ronan Curtis are two whose actions, at times, don't go unnoticed.

There's nothing wrong with a player showing a bit of passion, demanding high standards and wanting to win. That is an attribute that can be a positive.

But Cowley seems aware when it can cause a bit of friction and go against the cause when things aren't going to plan.

He's a glass-half-full sort of boss who wants the same attitude from his troops.

You’ll never fully change a player’s demeanour but you can temper it.

Twitter was awash with criticism of the players last night, with many saying this team just isn't good enough, irrespective of the new manager.

Harsh, bearing in mind we just enjoyed four successive wins prior to this week, or closer to home than many care to admit?

Andy Newman

That was one of the main topics of discussion after the final whistle at Gresty Road.

As League One squads go, there aren't too many – player for player – better, on paper.

The likes of Craig MacGillivray, Jack Whatmough, Ronan Curtis, Marcus Harness, Andy Cannon and Ben Close have, at one point or another, been backed to cut it in the Championship.

Meanwhile, Tom Naylor, Ryan Williams, John Marquis and Sean Raggett have that experience.

For me, it more comes down to the change in style that takes time, coupled with some players not being as suited to a possession-based brand.

They were all, bar Whatmough, brought in by Kenny Jackett to fulfil certain duties but those have now changed.

Are the Pompey players tired? We keep on hearing about it and seeing it on the pitch. Or are they simply devoid of ideas in an attacking sense?

P Thompson

I know Danny Cowley used his lion metaphor to describe tiredness, but fatigue has to be considered – especially in a condensed season.

None of Ronan Curtis, Ryan Williams and Marcus Harness have operated at the peak of their powers in the past three games.

But because of the injury situation, they can't be given a bit of respite to recharge energy levels.

That'll obviously have an impact on attacking output, but let's not forget John Marquis squandered two gilt-edged chances that were enough to win the game, while Craig MacGillivray barely had a save to make.

Had it been a 2-0 win at Gresty Road, things would be back on track and on to MK Dons we go.

One thing you do worry about is what sort of shape the Blues' front men will be in if they do make it into the play-offs.

Curtis and Jamal Lowe were shattered heading into the semi-finals with Sunderland two years ago, while let’s remember 2016 when the injury situation against Plymouth was horrendous.

I'm loving the way Danny Cowley talks about the game, his enthusiasm, his management. Everything really.

You can't help but be impressed with the guy, irrespective of the last two games.

With that in mind, I look forward to what he brings in during the summer and the changes he'll make to make this team more reflective of his philosophy.

M Cox

Do you know something we don't as Cowley's deal only runs until the end of the season?!

In all seriousness, if Pompey do offer the head coach a longer-term deal – which there is a very good chance of – he will see the transfer window as fundamental.

Regardless of what division the Blues are in, this team needs some new faces more than anything, but to just freshen things up.

With 11 players out of contract and three loanees due to go back to their respective parent clubs, we can expect a busy summer.

Much like Paul Cook’s arrival in 2015, Cowley – if he stays – needs to recruit the players he believes are ideal to meet the way he wants to play, such as defenders who can comfortable on the ball and going through the thirds.

Then he needs a full summer on the training pitch imparting his knowledge and defining every player's role.

We know regular recruitment meetings are taking place, so potential targets will be getting identified at this moment.