'I get the romance' - Danny Cowley responds to Portsmouth fans wanting to see local lad given chance
Head coach Danny Cowley ‘gets the romance’ behind why some fans want to see Alfie Stanley handed a Pompey chance.
But ensuring the teenage doesn’t regress if he’s thrown into the deep end is paramount when it comes to his development.
Stanley is currently the Blues’ only fully-fit striker heading into the League One visit to Crewe tonight (6pm).
Amid an attacking crisis, Ellis Harrison is ruled out for the remainder of season with a knee injury, Jordy Hiwula remains sidelined with an ankle problem and John Marquis is a major doubt with a similar setback.
Stanley was named on the bench for Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Burton.
But despite Pompey chasing a goal in the closing stages, he was left unused.
Sections of supporters want to see the former Mayfield School pupil given an opportunity against Crewe, having netted 26 goals for the academy last season and scoring for the reserves in a 1-0 win over Millwall a week ago.
Cowley can understand the reasons behind those pleas – but stressed he doesn’t want to set Stanley up to fail.
‘Alfie will be on the coach,’ said Cowley. ‘He's a great kid, got great enthusiasm, knows where the goal is and is just really young.
‘We always have a duty of care with the young players to help them with their development. You've got to make sure you get the stepping stones right for his development. Sometimes, if you jump stepping stones, you get wet.
‘We've got to make sure the stepping stones are in place for his development. If you jump stepping stones, you can almost make regression as a consequence of that. You can lose some momentum, confidence and energy in what was an upward curve in terms of progression.
‘It's a delicate decision but we wouldn't put him on the bench if he couldn't help us. Maybe, in the right circumstances, in the right game and against the right opponent then who knows?
‘I'm not scared of their ages or how old they are. If they're good enough and ready, age doesn't matter to me at all.
‘I played Ellis Chapman as a 16-year-old at Lincoln. He played 15 games for Lincoln and 10 games for Chesterfield on loan so I'm not bothered about age.
‘I don't want to set anyone up to fail. They have to be ready.
‘I get the romance in it all. I'm a football romantic so I feel that but we have to make sure we set players up to be successful.’
Third-year scholar Stanley has featured twice for Pompey in the Papa John’s Trophy this season.
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