Portsmouth boss reeling from fresh defensive blow in bid to solve left-back crisis for Lincoln

Pompey’s left-back options have received a further blow after Danny Cowley’s creaking squad reported another injury.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 11:39 am

Paul Downing is sidelined with a calf problem collected during his one-minute cameo at Wycombe.

He subsequently has been unable to train and, in turn, that impacts on the ability to fill the left-back spot at Lincoln.

With Lee Brown suspended, Connor Ogilvie represents the natural replacement for tomorrow night’s Sincil Bank trip (7.45pm).

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Yet he has formed a promising central-defensive partnership with Sean Raggett during the last six matches, conceding just four times in the process.

While Cowley may be loath to split up that double act, it now appears he can’t anyway following the loss of the only other available centre-half in his squad – Downing.

And, in turn, his left-back selection headache has worsened.

Pompey’s head coach told The News: ‘These are the decisions we have to make.

Pompey skipper Lee Brown misses the trip to Lincoln through a one-match suspension. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘First and foremost, we will see how everybody recovers and everybody trains. I never pick a team until I have watched training back and that will give us a good idea.

‘We’ll have a look at a couple of things in training today and try to make the best decision.

‘I don’t think there’s a perfect solution – so we have to try to find the very best solution.

‘Splitting up Sean and Connor is something we are aware of, but we haven't got Paul Downing unfortunately, so we don’t have too many options.

‘After the Wycombe came, Paul felt his calf and tried to start training last Monday, but without success. I feel very sorry for him, he’s very professional, but can’t get a run together at the moment.

‘We have a few options, but no natural solutions. We have to compromise, there’s not a perfect solution.’

Cowley’s left-back alternatives would be the left-footed Reeco Hackett, who has previously briefly appeared as a left wing-back.

Right-back Kieron Freeman and midfielder Shaun Williams could also be considered to step in temporarily for Brown’s one-game absence.

Perhaps Pompey’s boss may even opt to reintroduce the back three, which would allow a better fit for Hackett at left wing-back.

Meanwhile, Liam Vincent is not yet considered, despite having returned from five months out with injury. Crucially, the teenage is without any match action since the start of July.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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