'I’m not going to criticise my players and I never will': Portsmouth boss refuses to give up on Coventry and ex-Nottingham Forest striker Tyler Walker amid underwhelming loan

Danny Cowley is refusing to give up on Tyler Walker.

Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 4:55 am

And the head coach has pledged to ‘find the spark’ to ignite the loanee’s underwhelming Pompey career.

The Coventry man has struggled since arriving at Fratton Park in January amid great expectations, netting once in 13 appearances.

Walker’s latest blank was in Saturday’s goalless draw against Wycombe, representing his eighth League One start for the Blues.

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Indeed, when Cowley last worked with Walker, he bagged 16 goals in 34 matches for then League Two side Lincoln in 2019-20.

And with eight Pompey fixtures remaining for the striker to make his mark, the Blues boss continues to eye a change of fortune.

Cowley told The News: ‘I’ve got the best out of Tyler once – and will try to keep working with him to find the spark that he needs to play to his best.

Tyler Walker has found the net once in 13 appearances since arriving at Pompey on loan from Coventry. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘He scored against Crewe in the previous game he started and then picked up that ankle injury, which probably just stopped his momentum a little. Unfortunately, that’s the way it has gone for him.

‘We haven’t seen the best of him, that’s obvious to say.

‘I’m not going to criticise my players and I never will, not to you guys, and I don’t mean that disrespectfully.

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‘Being a professional footballer is a tough job, especially at a big club like Pompey where there’s a lot of noise, so I’m not going to create more.

‘Tyler has to keep working. His attitude, work ethic and willingness for the team is, without doubt, there, but it has not happened for him at this point.’

Cowley had hoped Walker would provide the cutting edge so glaringly absent from his side in the first half of the season.

He offloaded both John Marquis and Ellis Harrison during the transfer window to create room for the ex-Nottingham Forest man, both in terms of the playing budget and squad.

However, it has still to click for a player who has netted two goals in 19 Championship outings for Coventry this season.

Last weekend’s visit of Wycombe marked a recall to Cowley’s starting XI, having spent the previous two matches against Ipswich and Plymouth as a substitute.

And Pompey’s head coach explained why he felt it was time to put Walker back into his side.

Cowley added: ‘I picked Tyler because Aiden (O’Brien) and Ronan (Curtis) were absolutely dead on their feet at Plymouth.

‘I felt sorry for them there, we had flogged them.

‘It just made sense to freshen up for Wycombe coming to us, while Tyler’s ankle is better as well.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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