Pompey Q&A: Where Danny Cowley's transfer focus will turn to next after first sight of Coventry City and Blackburn Rovers pair

Danny Cowley’s side were involved in a lacklustre goalless draw against AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday.

By Pepe Lacey
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 3:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 4:17 pm

Pepe Lacey is joined by Pompey writer Jordan Cross to discuss the key events and talking points from the Blues’ goalless draw against AFC Wimbledon, which included two debuts for new men Tyler Walker and Hayden Carter.

Here’s what was said about the overall performances, the pair’s debut and what can be expected from the rest of the window.

Pompey drew 0-0 on Tuesday night against Wimbledon, it’s not a game that’s going to live long in the memory is it?

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No, exactly and I said that at half-time when I tweeted after the first 45 minutes in which the AFC Wimbledon keeper wasn’t extended at all.

They didn’t create an awful lot themselves, other than an early chance from McCormick which Bazunu did very well to push away.

It was better from Pompey in the second half, in terms of asking some more questions.

Did they carve out enough? No they didn’t. Did they execute as well as they could’ve? Probably not, but the greater issue was the supply not the execution on a night where we got our first glimpse of Tyler Walker, who had a sniff nine seconds after the restart where he stretched the keeper.

Pompey boss Danny Cowley

There was a flurry from Pompey; Mahlon Romeo hit the bar, Ronan Curtis had a chance and Sean Raggett had a header parried away. Pompey were probably the better side in the second half but it’s all relative because, as you say, it was not a night that will live long in the memory.

It just shows where Pompey stand with the defensive solidity and where they need to work in attacking creativity.

It’s like groundhog day, it’s something we all know and they have to quickly set about getting that right, if they are to turn the season into one that finishes in the play-offs.

Along with Hayden Carter, Tyler Walker made his Blues debut against AFC Wimbledon last night.

New signing Tyler Walker didn’t have the greatest game. Was there a reason for that?

It’s been a whirlwind for Tyler, when he signed he was still in Coventry on Monday and Pompey kept him under wraps.

They needed to have signed him by midday on Monday for him to be available for Tuesday, but they waited until Tuesday to announce it to keep people guessing whether he will be available.

He came down, stayed at a hotel and then did pre-match yesterday. He hadn’t even trained with his new teammates, but went straight into the starting line-up last night.

Danny Cowley bought all these players into play along with Hayden Carter, and he hadn’t even met his teammates yet.

There were a couple of glimpses, I liked that he was more mobile than what we’ve had or have.

He’s a good size at around 6ft and is quite rapid. I was keeping an eye on him in the shooting drills, he’s a confident finisher and his career stats back that.

He scored a lot of goals at Mansfield, scored 17 goals at Lincoln and eight goals in the Championship last season so he’s got pedigree, certainly at a lower level.

He started a game in December, only four starts this season and completed a full 90 minutes on a couple of occasions.

By his admission he’s playing catch-up a bit, so needs to get himself up to speed quickly.

One thing, though, is he’s not is short of confidence.

It was really good to speak to him afterwards and hear him talking about taking on the mantle of number nine at Pompey – one which has proved too heavy for a number of strikers in recent years.

Tyler Walker looks a confident chap and he knows what he’s here to do – and that’s to score the goals to get Pompey into the top six.

It was the first sight of Hayden Carter last night and he really impressed fitting into the back three didn’t he?

By far the biggest positive for Pompey last night was Hayen Carter’s performance, he added a bit of power to the back line with mobility for a big man.

He came into the right side of the defensive trio and used the ball really well, a confident passer who got forward to reasonable effect.

He put some decent balls in as well and hopefully he can help us add some more set-piece threat, because we haven’t done nearly enough of that this season – and I think his four goals at Burton suggests he will do that.

He was my Pompey man of the match by some distance.

I thought it was a really encouraging first glimpse and he gave a better balance in terms of attributes, distribution and opening up the right side of the pitch - which Danny Cowley has been big on, in terms of having a left footer on the left and a right footer on the right of a defensive trio, to open up the wider areas of the pitch.

It was a good glimpse. I’m not getting carried away yet, but it was a really positive start.

There was a positive social media reaction to the starting lineup being described as Pompey’s strongest. It wasn’t the greatest performance but was it because there were a couple of new faces in a set team and just trying to work out how each other play?

That’s exactly it, partnerships need developing when new faces come in especially at such short notice.

Within the first few minutes I quite liked the look of how Pompey were. I just felt there was promise there which didn’t quite spark.

But again I looked at the bench, and when you’re playing both the strikers I didn’t see a great deal that can influence the game with the way it was going.

I’m still not sure of Ronan Cutis as an out-and-out striker, but obviously there’s Michael Jacobs that can add something deeper.

But the adage from football managers is that they’re always two players short of having the ideal squad, which was rolled out by Danny Cowley last night.

I do believe they need a couple of extra bodies this month, though.

There’s still just under two weeks left until the close of the window, where do you feel Pompey needs to strengthen and how many more faces could arrive this month?

I think there will be two, maybe three depending on what happens with Alex Bass and whether he goes out on loan.

I think if Cowley does want to get him out, then they’ll bring a cheap young keeper in and free up a bit of space in the budget.

But with the two loans coming in Pompey have used their full complement of five loans again, so it’ll just be permanents they’re looking to.

He’s worked hard to free up some space in the budget and I think it’s clear that he would like a left sided player than can operate as a left wing-back.

I don't think feels he has an orthadox left wing-back in his options in terms of Ogilvie, Brown and Hackett - that’ll be one to look at with the 3-4-1-2 formation as the preferred option moving forward.

So look out for a left wing-back in the window – and I think Cowley still wants that link man as an option as well.

A player that can be a link between the midfield and the strikers, that’ll be one way to go.

Even with Miguel Azeez going back, I think Pompey may redistribute that number in terms of balance and weight a bit more in forward areas.

Given that Pompey are on a third blank in five league games and only the bottom three and Shrewsbury have scored less, I think that will be the case.

We all know that should be where the focus does go, as defensively they look sound and sturdy with only two teams conceding fewer goals.

I think there will be a redirection of resources into forward areas, because Pompey need to be getting towards two points a game now to hit the play-offs. That is promotion form across a season.

If they get two points a game from now until the end of the season they’ll end up on 79 points which should be enough, but is no guarantee of a playoff spot historically.

So they need to hit near promotion form - that's why we need to boost the attacking power between now and the end of the month.

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