Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley weighing up decision to recall youngster Haji Mnoga from non-league spell to ease injury woes

Danny Cowley has admitted he’s weighing up recalling Haji Mnoga from his Weymouth loan spell.

By Sam Cox
Friday, 4th March 2022, 4:55 am

It comes as Pompey have been reduced to 13 fit senior outfield players for their clash with Accrington, with Reeco Hackett the latest to be added to their injury list.

The Blues head coach, however, is reluctant to pull the teenager from his National League stint due to the progress he’s making with the Terras.

Since arriving at the Bob Lucas Stadium in January on a youth loan, the versatile defender has made 10 consecutive appearances, completing 90 minutes in each.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

Cowley revealed he’ll only bring Mnoga back if he can guarantee the 19-year-old regular game time.

He said: ‘At the moment, I’m doing everything I can (not to recall him).

‘I’m not saying I won’t call him back, but I’m doing everything I can not to call him back.

‘It is an option to us, but only if he was to come back in and start, because we have a lot of respect for Weymouth as a football club.

Pompey defender Haji Mnoga has made 10 appearances for Weymouth. Picture: Jason Brown

‘They’re in a really important part of their season, and more significantly, for us, Haji is really developing by the day in that loan. We know young players only develop with game time.

‘For us as a football club, we have to try and make some long-term decisions. We have a clear strategy of what we are trying to achieve and do.

‘Part of that strategy is to develop young players, and if that is the long-term strategy, we have to commit to it in the short-term, even when it gets as challenging as it is now.’

Pompey will be pleased to see the progress Mnoga is making, after his season threatened to derail earlier this term.

His initial loan at fellow National League side Bromley didn’t go to plan – after he was exiled from Andy Woodman’s squad.

The teenager’s Ravens anonymity grew as the season progressed, before being frozen out altogether after a red card in their FA Cup defeat to Rotherham.

And Cowley outlined how Mnoga’s second spell away from the club is paying dividends.

He added: ‘He’s developing and he’s improving, and has been playing every game.

‘Weymouth are having a real fight and Haji is contributing and doing a really good job.

‘He’s had some brilliant games – he’s played at Chesterfield just recently and on Saturday they were at Stockport and this is fantastic experience for a young player.’

Message From the Editor

You can support our local team of expert Pompey writers by subscribing here for all the latest news from Fratton Park for less than 25p per week.