Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley excited by what's to come in key battle area as former Sheffield United ace and Millwall loanee go head to-head

Danny Cowley believes the Pompey fans are yet to see the best of Kieron Freeman as he weighs up a potential change in his defensive ranks.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Friday, 10th September 2021, 11:37 am
Kieron Freeman has started all five of Pompey's League One games to date this season. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

The right-back has been an impressive ever-present in the Blues’ five League One games to date following his arrival on a free transfer in the summer.

Those outings already exceed the number of matches the former Sheffield United favourite played last season for Swindon and then Swansea.

But with a Pompey loan move for Millwall full-back Mahlon Romeo completed in the final hours of the transfer window, competition for a starting berth just got a lot tougher.

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Cowley knows he has some serious thinking to do in the build-up to Saturday’s trip to MK Dons – something that he welcomes.

And whatever he decides, he’s more than satisfied with what he’s seen so far from Freeman and what is still to come from the 29-year-old.

Speaking to The News, Cowley said: ‘I think there’s a few difficult decisions for us this weekend, but that’s what we want.

‘Every manager wants competition for places and if you look at our performance at Wigan, where we played well for 60 minutes, we unfortunately fell off.

Mahlon Romeo was handed his Pompey debut against AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night. Picture: Jason Brown.

‘I think Kieron has done well since he signed for us. I think he’s getting fitter and has gained a rhythm back into a place where he needed to be.

‘I think he’s very good technically, and I believe it’s helped having him and Gavin Bazunu in our “building” phase, because both of them are very comfortable on the ball and they make good decisions, and execute those decisions well.

‘We’re still trying to work and build his fitness up to get him on the overlap and I think he’s getting there and into good areas now.

‘He’s someone who has been starved of football and I think he’s someone who is in the process of getting fitter and stronger game by game. The best is yet to come.’

Freeman was rested for Tuesday night’s Papa John’s Trophy defeat at AFC Wimbledon as Cowley handed Romeo a full Blues debut at Plough Lane.

The 25-year-old largely impressed and will no doubt to itching to start the game at Stadium MK.

It’s that additional quality, competition and eagerness to play that Cowley believes will benefit both the team and the players moving forward.

The Blues boss added: ‘Romeo’s arrival should be good for Freeman, he needs that competition.

‘Admittedly, they are different players, but they can play in different positions which is good for us. It’s what we need.

‘I thought he was very good (against Wimbledon), he was dynamic and athletic.

‘He was physically excellent over 1200 metres at high speeds, which shows you how dynamic he is and what penetration he’s going to give us.

‘He can progress us down that side with the ball which we like, but he’s a good defender most importantly. He’s a defender who is good in the one versus one moments as well.’