Danny Cowley: My Portsmouth loanees must be champions and first-team regulars - not cheap squad fillers

Danny Cowley wants ‘champion’ loan players to form the backbone of Pompey success.

By Neil Allen
Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 5:00 pm
Danny Cowley is adamant he wants loanees to drive his Pompey first-team, not to act as squad fillers. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Danny Cowley is adamant he wants loanees to drive his Pompey first-team, not to act as squad fillers. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

The Blues boss intends to utilise the loan market to bring in first-team regulars rather than merely supplementing squad numbers.

So far Gavin Bazunu represents the Blues’ only loan recruit, a player Cowley has described as one of the ‘best young keepers in Europe’.

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Pompey’s head coach wants to sign players of similar calibre – genuinely capable of establishing themselves as first choices in a side striving for promotion.

And while he intends to use all his remaining four slots, Cowley is adamant none will be squad fillers.

He told The News: ‘Loans will be vital, if you can use the loan market intelligently then it can have a huge, huge impact.

‘If you look at my teams in previous years, the successful ones have always had loan players that have contributed massively.

‘Look at Blackpool last year, who had Ellis Simms. I know he didn’t play the final through injury, but he played a huge part.

‘They played in Lincoln in the final, who had Alex Palmer, Brennan Johnson and Morgan Rogers, arguably their best three players that season.

‘Knowing Lincoln’s recruitment team – having appointed them up – it was no surprise to me they got the best loans in the league last year. That was a huge part of their success.

‘I try to sign champions, ideally loans I think can make the team significantly better and harder.

‘You can sign players for lower money that can help the squad, that can work. However, I don’t really think that benefits anyone that way.

‘I always think you should sign (loan) players who are significantly better, who play every week.

‘Then it’s going to help your team, help the assets in your team, and will attract the scouts to come and watch your team.

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‘When we signed Emile Smith Rowe, guess what, our scouts went from 30-40 a game to 80, 90 or 100.

‘And, of course, they are not only watching Emile, but watching all your other assets.’

In last term’s League One play-off final, a quarter of the 24 players starting were loanees.

Winners Blackpool had Dan Ballard (Arsenal) and Elliot Embleton (Sunderland) in their side.

While Lincoln named Alex Palmer (West Brom), Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest, Morgan Rogers (Manchester City) and Timothy Eyoma (Spurs).

In addition, Callum Morton (West Brom) came off the bench for Michael Appleton’s men.

Cowley added: ‘If you have unlimited finances then you don’t need loans, but, ultimately, you’ve got to try to get the best value for money that you’ve got available.

‘If you look at all the successful lower league teams, they have always got loans.

‘Hull have done that, while Peterborough have got good loans and recruited unbelievably well for a number of years, especially in that number nine position.’

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