Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley eyeing January move for new central defender

Danny Cowley is targeting a new central defender in the January transfer window.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 5:12 pm

Ongoing injury problems with Clark Robertson and Paul Downing have impacted significantly on the make-up of Pompey’s defence this season.

And despite both potentially being available again at the turn of the year, the Blues’ head coach has his sights set on a fresh addition.

As it stands, Connor Ogilvie is partnering the in-form Sean Raggett, with the pair at the heart of a Pompey side which on Saturday secured a second clean sheet in 13 matches.

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The double act will remain in place for tomorrow night’s (7.45pm) visit of 16th-placed Cheltenham.

Yet Cowley is casting his eye towards the January window as he seeks to bolster an area frustratingly short of selection options.

He told The News: ‘The fact that we haven’t had Clark available through a long-term injury and Paul Downing fit means we are looking for another centre-half.

‘Connor (Ogilvie) has been doing a really good job playing centre-half, but is primarily a left-back that can play centre-half.

Pompey skipper Clark Robertson has been out of action since mid-September following an operation. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘We would like to be able to add to that position if we could.

‘We knew when we lost Jack Whatmough that it was going to be tough to replace him because he’s a top centre-half at this level.

‘If everyone was fit you would only need 11 players, it would make my job a lot easier! But unfortunately that’s not how it works in the world.

‘We want to be competitive in every area and the problem is, in a relatively balanced squad, we’re just lacking in a couple of key areas.

‘Unfortunately we weren’t able to influence that in what was a very, very difficult market.

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‘You have to remember that in the summer transfer window the Championship clubs didn’t move, so they hung onto everything they had.

‘We weren’t in a position to have transfer fees, so we had to use only free agents and loans, doing as best as we could in what was a difficult window.’

Midfielder Shaun Williams and right-back Kieron Freeman were asked to line-up in a back three during a recent system switch.

For Cowley, such options highlighted the importance of addinf to his pool of centre-halves rather than relying on stop-gaps.

He added: ‘Another centre-half would give us flexibility and another defensive-minded player.

‘Playing three at the back with three centre-halves looks a lot different to playing one centre-half and two out of position.

‘Every player gravitates to a certain place on the pitch they feel most happy in. For us, it’s trying to pick a team which allows players to play in their preferred positions.

‘Quite simply, they play best in their best position.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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