Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley makes George Hirst admission after latest snub for Leicester loanee

Danny Cowley has challenged struggling George Hirst to ‘earn the right to play’.

Sunday, 7th November 2021, 4:55 am

The Leicester City loanee was surprisingly overlooked for Saturday’s FA Cup encounter with Harrow Borough.

Cowley opted against freshening up his goal-shy for the visit of the Southern League Premier South outfit.

Instead John Marquis, with four goals in 17 appearances this term, continued to be preferred to Hirst in attack.

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The 22-year-old wasn’t even called upon from the bench in the 1-0 victory, despite Cowley making four substitutions and having another slot remaining.

It represents another blow to Hirst, who has so far failed to prove his worth in a disappointing loan spell since arriving from the Premier League.

Cowley told The News: ‘Against Harrow, I played the players that earn the right to play. George ‘ain’t done it.

‘George will get another opportunity (against Crystal Palace) and this is what they've all got to do.

George Hirst has struggled to impress during his Fratton Park loan spell. Picture: Robin Jones/Digital South

‘They had an opportunity against Sutton and didn’t take it, did they. If they want to then they’ve got to take their chance.

‘We’re not messing around are we, this is professional sport, you have to earn the right. The players have to earn the right.

‘Absolutely you can do that in training. We plan training to the finest detail and we watch it back every single day.

‘They all get a mark out of 10 every session, they know exactly what they have done, what they haven’t done. They know exactly where they are and we pick what we see.

‘I don’t pick the team, the players pick the team. I just name them.’

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The former Sheffield Wednesday forward has made 13 appearances since arriving from the Foxes, albeit most fleeting cameos from the bench.

His goal return aside, Hirst’s overall performances have also largely also failed to convince the Fratton faithful.

The striker’s two starts have both come in Papa John’s Trophy defeats to AFC Wimbledon and Sutton United.

Meanwhile, all 11 of his League One outings have come as a substitute, despite Marquis’ ongoing goalscoring issues.

Against Harrow, Gassan Ahadme, Reeco Hackett, Michael Jacobs and Louis Thompson were used off the bench.

Hirst wasn’t called upon, along with Alex Bass, Kieron Freeman, Harvey Hughes and Harry Jewitt-White.

Although he is now likely to start Tuesday evening’s Papa John’s Trophy encounter with Crystal Palace under-21s.

He added: ‘I think those on the bench against Harrow could start against Palace.

‘It will give us a good opportunity to freshen it up.’

Hirst is on loan to Pompey until the season’s end, although the arrangement can be cancelled in January.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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