'He has a point to prove, absolutely' - Danny Cowley on the driving force behind Ellis Harrison's stunning Portsmouth hat-trick after Plymouth and Sheffield Wednesday interest

Danny Cowley surveyed a magnificent Ellis Harrison hat-trick and admitted: He’s finally shown me what he’s capable of.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 4:55 am
Ellis Harrison celebrates with Reeco Hackett-Fairchild following the goal which earned him a hat-trick at AFC Wimbledon last night. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

It was a timely reminder of Harrison’s talents after the club listened to offers for him during the transfer window, with Plymouth leading the way.

In fairness, the former Bristol Rovers man has barely been available since Cowley arrived in March, dogged by a knee injury and then sidelined by coronavirus.

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But at Plough Lane in the Papa John’s Trophy, Harrison conjured up an outstanding display to leave Cowley delighted.

Pompey’s head coach told The News: ‘I think there were some positives within the performance, definitely.

‘Ellis’ three goals is a real positive and I thought he played with a physicality, he was a handful and looked like the Ellis Harrison we all know he is capable of being – and certainly one that we were looking forward to working with.

‘That is probably the first time I have seen Ellis at full tilt, so that was good.

‘He has got a point to prove, absolutely. Off the back of the transfer window we had a really good chat and he came in on September 1 on a day off and did some work with Nicky (Cowley).

‘I think he has the bit between his teeth – and rightly so because he is in the prime of his career.

‘Last year didn’t go quite as well as he would have liked it to, but culminated with him picking up an injury.

‘But he has so much to offer and showed last night what he is capable of doing – and we picked 11 players that all needed to play.

‘He’s getting fitter and there's a focus now. He’s got clarity, which I think helps any player.

‘When he’s got the bit between his teeth and plays like he did last night, I know he can be a real handful.’

At Wimbledon, Cowley handed debuts to Mahlon Romeo, Louis Thompson and emergency loan goalkeeper Jake Eastwood.

He also rotated the side, making 11 changes to the team which lost at Wigan in their last league outing.

And Pompey’s boss admitted there were other positive performances to join Harrison, irrespective of the poor result.

He added: ‘Mahlon Romeo was another positive on his debut, gave a really athletic, dynamic performance on the right and Louis Thompson grew into the game and in the second half got real control of it.

‘But there are some other performances I thought were short of what we expect and short of what is needed if you want to play in this team.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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