Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley makes reassuring Joe Morrell claim with Wales' World Cup finals return just around the corner

Danny Cowley has reassured Pompey fans that midfielder Joe Morrell won’t be taking his eye off the ball in the build-up to next month’s World Cup.
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The Blues favourite is expected to be named in Wales boss Robert Page’s 26-man squad for the tournament in Qatar, having been a regular in the Welsh camp since 2019.

He’s now on 30 international appearances for his homeland, including four outings at last year’s European Championships, and is likely to add to that when the World Cup begins on November 20.

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Morrell’s preparations, however, have been far from ideal as he continues to play catch-up on his fitness.

He missed Pompey’s first seven games of the season following surgery on his groin after his summer international commitments.

Meanwhile, the former Luton man was thrown into the deep end last month when Tom Lowery’s hamstring injury saw him join fellow midfielder Louis Thompson in the treatment room.

Cowley admitted that was far from ideal, after Morrrell missed out on pre-season.

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His starting presence will likely be needed once more for tonight’s trip to Charlton, despite Lowey’s likely availability.

Pompey midfielder Joe MorrellPompey midfielder Joe Morrell
Pompey midfielder Joe Morrell

But in a week that has seen Chelsea full-back Reece James forced out of the World Cup because of injury and doubts remaining over Kyle Walker’s availability following surgery, the Pompey boss said he didn’t fear Morrell putting his World Cup hopes ahead of Pompey’s current League One needs.

‘Joe’s such a professional boy,’ said Cowley, who praised his progress in recent weeks.

‘He’s so dedicated, so focused and really dedicated to Portsmouth and the journey that we are on.

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‘And don’t forget, he needs to play for us (to get into the Wales squad), doesn’t he.

‘He had a difficult start because he obviously had a busy summer with Wales and then he picked up the groin injury and needed the operation.

‘He missed pre-season as a result and he’s actually now just getting back to full fitness.

‘You can see it in training but we had to properly throw him in earlier than anticipated because of Tom’s injury.

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‘He needed that six-week building otherwise why would we do pre-season, we’d all just turn up in August and start from there and have another six weeks on holiday.

‘But now he’s getting a rhythm to his training and you can see day by day him getting sharper and sharper and having the influence that we all know he can have.’

Morrell’s last game for Pompey ahead of the World Cup is likely to be the Blues’ visit to Morecambe on November 12.

He could miss up to four League One games if Wales make to the final.