'My worst part of the week is always having to speak to triallists' - Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley on the agony of breaking player hearts

More than 40 triallists are estimated to have passed through those Hilsea training gates this summer.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 4:55 am
Danny Cowley admits the toughest part of his week is breaking the hearts of his Pompey triallists. Picture: Nigel Keene/ProSportsImages

And Danny Cowley admits shattering Pompey contract hopes remains the most painful part of his weekly schedule.

The Blues’ large-scale post-season clear-out of first-team and Academy graduates has condemned them to faltering training numbers this summer.

It’s a situation not helped by pedestrian performance in the transfer market.

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In addition, the recent Academy racism probe, followed by a recorded coronavirus case, has prevented second-year scholars from stepping up into the first-team.

So far three have warranted long-term stays – yet, for Cowley, it’s those that don’t which is the agonising part.

He told The News: ‘We’ll keep assessing the situation with the triallists, like we have done with all of them.

‘We try to be open, try to have clear communication, but it’s really tough.

‘My worst part of the week is always having to speak to triallists and say it’s a “No” because we know how important these decisions are to them in their life.

‘It’s never nice when any player – any human being – is out of work, but we have to try to make the right decision for us, for them and, most importantly, this football club.’

At present, Gassan Ahadme, Kieron Freeman and Jayden Reid have earned Fratton Park deals.

Ahadme has joined on a season-long loan from Norwich, while Freeman and Reid have signed permanent contracts followin trials.

Pompey face Bournemouth under-21s in a behind-closed-doors fixture later today (4pm).

Although, with the Academy back in action, they may also swell squad numbers for the Pompey XI game.

Cowley added: ‘This is definitely the toughest transfer window and the toughest pre-season I have endured.

‘On Friday we were doing work and four of the coaching staff had to join in with the sessions to try to create a realistic 11 v 11 moment, just so we could do some preparation work for Saturday.

‘It has been crazy, to be honest with you.’

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