Key man's return to fitness means Danny Cowley pondering reverting back to preferred Portsmouth system

Lee Brown's potential return to the starting line-up could see Pompey switch to a preferred back four at Accrington.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 8:00 am

The left-back came through yesterday’s full training session unscathed ahead of the trip to the Wham Stadium tonight, having missed the past four games with a hamstring injury.

Charlie Daniels deputised for three matches before Danny Cowley deployed a wing-back system for Saturday's 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers.

Ryan Williams featured down the left flank, with Marcus Harness playing on the opposite side and Callum Johnson tucking in as a right-sided centre-back.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

However, Cowley would rather operate with a traditional four-man defence as the Blues bid to secure a League One play-off spot in the final three matches of the season.

The head coach said: ‘We are very hopeful we've got Lee Brown back, which gives us a good back-four option.

‘That would be our preference, to be a back four but we’ve shown we can be really adaptable as well.

‘Charlie gives us that option as well. He'd played four games in quick succession and at this stage of his career (aged 34), we felt he wasn't ready and didn't have the energy reserves to play a fifth. When he came on, he did well and a job for us when needed, which shows his professionalism.

Lee Brown. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘I'm not too caught up on the numbers. I like plus one on the defensive line and plus one on the attacking line so you have to manipulate that somehow.

‘You can't have two more players than the opponent so you have to be clever with your tactical work to create those numbers.

‘The system on Saturday really helped some of our players in terms of getting them where they're most comfortable, while defensively we looked really solid against direct play and protecting the space behind us.

‘We did a really good job stopping their counter-attacks and our defending of what we call defending the half was much better than it was against Swindon.

‘There were still some areas to improve, we gave away some cheap fouls and one-v-one defending, at times, could have been better.’