Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley lifts lid on Marcus Harness' recent absence - and it's nothing to do with Championship clubs circulating in January

Danny Cowley has lifted the lid on Marcus Harness’ recent Pompey absence.

By Sam Cox
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 5:15 pm

The forward hasn’t featured since the defeat to Charlton last month, remaining on the bench for the games against Oxford and Burton.

That has surprised some sections of the Fratton faithful, with the Republic of Ireland man the club’s top scorer this season with 10 goals and the Blues struggling for form since the turn of the year.

It was form which once again attracted admiring glances from Championship sides in the January transfer window. Interest which Pompey subsequently snubbed.

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But Cowley explained a mutual decision was made to allow Harness to refresh his mind and body for the final 17 games of the campaign.

Indeed, despite already equalling his best Pompey goal tally for the season, the 25-year-old’s form has dipped in recent weeks.

Only Gavin Bazunu (27 games) and Sean Raggett (28) have played more games in the league this term than the attacker (26).

Now Cowley is hoping his mini-break from the action will help reinvigorate the player and help him to propel the Blues back up the table.

Marcus Harness hasn't featured in Pompey's last two league games. Picture: Robin Jones

‘We just felt, and we sat down with him last week, that maybe it was the time to take him out and give him a rest physically and mentally,’ said Cowley.

‘He had literally played in every game until Oxford. Every time he’s been available he’s played.

‘When you’re a player at the top end of the pitch, and a lot is expected of you and when you expect a lot of yourself, that can be mentally demanding.

‘The nature of the way he plays, as he’s such an explosive athlete, again, that can be physically demanding.

‘Sometimes you just need to freshen people up.

‘Having spoke to him, it was a joint decision really.

‘We both felt he would benefit from that.

‘I’m sure he and the team will reap the rewards once we bring him back in.’

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