'His attitude to work is exceptional': Why Portsmouth boss is set to throw first-team lifeline to Norwich loanee Gassan Ahadme after lengthy absence
Gassan Ahadme is set for his long-awaited Pompey first-team comeback.
Following a blank weekend, the Blues will face Sutton United in the Papa John’s Trophy tomorrow night (7.45pm).
And expected to be named among Danny Cowley’s starting XI is Ahadme, having been overlooked for the previous six squads.
The 20-year-old is fresh from a starring role in last Wednesday’s friendly against Bournemouth, when he netted twice and created the other for George Hirst.
Ahadme’s last first-team involvement was a 5-3 defeat at AFC Wimbledon in the Papa John’s Trophy more than a month ago.
Yet he returns for tomorrow’s 18-man squad – and it is anticipated he’ll start.
Cowley told The News: ‘Gassan did really well against Bournemouth last week with two lovely goals, while put one on a plate for George as well.
‘His attitude to work is exceptional, we are all with him as a boy, you can’t help but like the way he conducts himself. He’s so professional, so focused, really conscientious in his work.
‘When you see young players with that much drive then you’re always pleased when they get the rewards their hard work deserves.
‘That’s why I was so pleased with the game against a strong Bournemouth team. It wasn’t their under-23s either, who played Arsenal that night.
‘They all did well. Gassan, Michael Jacobs, George Hirst, Paul Downing, Reeco, while Harvey Hughes and Izzy Kaba played and did well too.
‘Gassan’s first was off the high press, we turned it over, found him, it was really good feet and then the finish.
‘For his second, we again turned it over high up the pitch, Michael Jacobs travelled and played it through and Gassan took it around the keeper and scored
‘With the third, we pressed it again and won it, with Gassan drawing the goalkeeper before sliding it across the box for George Hirst to score.
‘With his whole performance, Gassan did really well and I’m pleased for him.
‘I’m not going to tell you our team before Sutton and do someone’s work for them, but he’s definitely available for selection.’
The Norwich loanee netted eight times in four matches during pre-season, including a 26-minute hat-trick against the Hawks.
However, he has found the adjustment to League One a little more tricky, despite featuring regularly at the season’s start.
Ahadme has made six appearances so far this term, with Cowley trying to identify the youngster’s most effective position.
Pompey’s head coach added: ‘That’s the challenge isn’t it, trying to find the best place for him.
‘He can play as the 10 or as a two-man frontline. I won’t say where he played against Bournemouth, though!’
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