New Portsmouth playing life under the Cowleys: the Village Hotel, focus on closing down, freedom on the ball

A pre-match meal at the Village Hotel, closing down instructions, freedom on the ball and setting traps.

Sunday, 21st March 2021, 6:30 am

How Danny and Nicky Cowley implemented a match-winning game plan over Ipswich in just 24 hours at Fratton Park.

James Bolton has lifted the lid on the tactical and preparational revamp which reaped a 2-1 success on Saturday.

Pompey head coach Cowley was restricted to just one training session with his new players after replacing Kenny Jackett on Friday.

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The outcome was the Blues’ first win in seven matches – and climbing to seventh in League One.

Bolton told The News: ‘They've not had long with us, but we’ve worked at things, little details.

‘They came in Friday, we had a couple of meetings, and then they did the training session and it was good.

‘We’ve been working on the basics of closing down. We had a bit of a plan on how we closed down, when we closed down.

According to James Bolton, new Pompey head coach Danny Cowley (right) and assistant Nicky Cowley introduced tactical and preparational changes which aided a 2-1 victory over Ipswich. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘To be honest, we were expecting Ipswich to play a bit more football, to play out from the back, and we were going to set traps. Although I don’t think they played too much football.

‘We were also given freedom to get on the ball. One thing the gaffer said was to look forward to making mistakes, then look forward to winning it back and getting straight back on it.

‘It’s a different way of doing things, just freshening things up. We had a bit of a plan and it worked.

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‘Hopefully it’s exciting times for everyone.’

Another change involved the first-team squad congregating at the Village Hotel on Saturday morning.

Rather than players heading straight to Fratton Park, they were instructed to meet up at the Cosham hotel for a pre-match meal and team meeting.

From there, they effectively drove in convoy to Pompey’s ground for the League One match with Ipswich.

Bolton added: ‘We met at the Village Hotel, which gave us a chance to be with the gaffer a bit more.

‘It was a pre-match meal and a meeting, spending a bit more time with the gaffer, and then he explained the game plan and put on a presentation.

‘Although I think us meeting at the Village Hotel was happening anyway, Joe Gallen had organised it.’

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