Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley reveals work load and transfer window starting point as he gets down to plotting 2022-23 Blues promotion challenge

Danny Cowley admitted now is not the time for a break as plots a course for his third transfer window as Pompey manager.

By Mark McMahon
Monday, 9th May 2022, 4:55 am

The 2022-23 season finished more than a week ago, with the Blues signing off with a disappointing 4-1 defeat at promotion hopefuls Sheffield Wednesday.

That left the Fratton Park side 10 points short of a play-off place and stuck in 10th position in League One as Pompey recorded their worst third-tier finish since their return in 2017.

No doubt many of the current squad are now enjoying a well-earned rest following another arduous season.

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Yet Cowley admitted he can’t afford such a luxury.

He knows there’s an expectation on him to close the gap on those currently still celebrating promotion to the Championship and those left to battle it out for that one remaining place in the second tier.

And with 12 players nearing the end of their existing deals – and this season’s five loanees now back at their parent clubs – now’s hardly the time to take the foot off the pedal.

Putting to one side any potential time off to refresh the batteries, Cowley – who was a guest pundit on Saturday night’s EFL on Quest football show – said: ‘It’s 365 days a year for us, there’s no time to rest.

Pompey boss Danny Cowley

‘We’ve stopped playing on the pitch, but we are still working hard behind the scenes.

‘We spent the week speaking with the players and had player and staff reviews.

‘For us, we have a busy summer ahead in terms of recruitment.

‘It’s a really good opportunity to reflect on the season, take learning from the season and to take feedback for ourselves as coaches.

‘Our ambition is to always try and improve.

‘The players are the key stakeholders, and they live it everyday.

‘We’re always looking for those marginal gains which will improve our work, so it can help us in the future.’

Cowley himself has placed much emphasis on the upcoming summer transfer window, insisting from the very beginning of his Blues reign that it would take three windows to get his squad to where he wants it.

Only four players – Sean Raggett, Ronan Curtis, Marcus Harness and Michael Jacobs – who played in the Sheffield Wednesday defeat featured in his opening game in charge against Ipswich back in March 2020.

That highlights the huge turnaround that has taken place within the squad ranks during the 405 days in between both games.

Further changes are expected in the weeks and months ahead, with Cowley spelling out where he will start.

‘We’ve got clarity about what we would like to do,’ he added.

‘The first point of our recruitment is to try and retain some of the players we already have here.

‘A number of those players (who are out of contract) have options, and we’re in the process of taking those options up.

‘For the players that are out of contract, we have offered players new terms, and we are hopeful that they will accept those terms.’