Their unfamiliarity and unsuitability therefore renders the pursuit of Sunderland’s Denver Hume an understandable one.
Nonetheless, while he believes Hackett can have a future at left wing-back, the 1-0 defeat at Sunderland once again demonstrated the need for an alternative.
As for Brown, he has served the Blues solidly as a left-back, with Cowley conceding he is more ‘comfortable’ as a conventional full-back.
Now the Blues are closing in on recruiting Hume, who represents a more natural fit.
Cowley told The News: ‘I think both Lee and Reeco give us different qualities there.
‘Lee did well at AFC Wimbledon last week, while Reeco has certainly got the intelligence and profile to be able to adapt.
‘Reeco gives you a lovely left foot, he gives you one-v-one domination, he has technical quality.
‘He has worked really hard on the defensive aspects as well, such as defending at the back post, which are important attributes that you need to be able to be a good wing-back.
‘Reeco is a really talented boy with a good range of skills and a really intelligent, tactical understanding of the game, so I think he’s adaptable and can play at left wing-back.
‘Lee has done well for us. He’s an attacking full-back anyway and someone with a wealth of experience who gives us options offensively as well.
‘Every player has a position on the pitch they feel most comfortable in, every player naturally gravitates to a certain area on the playing field.
‘Lee is an overlapping full-back that likes to defend and attack.’
Both Brown and Hackett are out of contract in the summer.
Brown has made 131 appearances for the Blues, netting six times, with the two-year extension he signed in August 2020 expiring at the season’s end.
Likewise, the contract of Hackett, who arrived at Fratton Park in January 2020 from Bromley, is also up this summer.
Cowley added: ‘Reeco is having a really good season.
‘He’s in a good position now, he’s someone that hasn’t had it all his own way up until this season.
‘Reeco’s fought really hard to become an important member of the squad and the team – and our heart is with him.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron