After Pompey’s faint play-off hopes ended this week, supporters called on the Blues head coach to give youth a chance in upcoming matches with Gillingham, Wigan and Sheffield Wednesday.
At face value, the three fixtures appear the perfect opportunity to freshen things up, after Cowley’s recent frustrations with his side’s packed fixture schedule.
However, the Fratton Park boss explained it’s his responsibility not to stunt progress made by Harry Jewitt-White, Jay Mingi and Liam Vincent by setting them up to fail against teams who still have a lot to play for.
Neil Harris’ side are battling relegation, while the Latics and Owls are fighting for promotion.
Cowley told The News: ‘I think for us, it’s always our responsibility to set our young players up for success.
‘I totally understand that our supporters would like to see our young players, but it’s for us to put them in a position where they can be successful.
‘It’s probably very, very early for Harry; Liam has had a start-stop season so he’s not quite up to full speed at the moment; and Jay Mingi is someone that we would have liked to have played, and we certainly contemplated going with him across the weekend.
‘Unfortunately for Jay, he hasn’t played a competitive game since the turn of the year after he dislocated his shoulder while on loan at Maidenhead.’
The mood surrounding the Pompey production line has improved significantly over the past month thanks to a succession of good news stories.
Young striker Dan Gifford has been in good form for Bognor and has penned a new contract with the Blues, while Haji Mnoga was named Weymouth’s player of the month for March.
Yet despite the evidence of potential within the youth ranks, Cowley revealed those youngsters coming through must play at their maximum abilities if they want a chance in his side.
He added: ‘For us, the players have got to be ready to do well.
‘When young players are in this development phase, and if you put them into a circumstance which means he’s going to fail, that can affect their confidence and then their development.
‘We have to make the right decisions and calls for when to play them.
‘I think Jay could be ready, but the fact he hasn’t had a background of games has probably meant, from the beginning, it would be difficult for him to play at his best.
‘At this moment, at this stage of his development, he would need to be at his best to compete at this level.’