Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley's message to steely Wycombe counterpart Gareth Ainsworth after smelling Blues blood

‘They might have smelt blood’.

By Mark McMahon
Thursday, 11th November 2021, 3:17 pm

That’s Danny Cowley’s assessment of Wycombe’s reasons to play Saturday’s game against Pompey, despite having three players away on international duty.

But the Blues boss is determined to prove the Chairboys wrong for believing that his side could be a soft touch on their visit to Adams Park.

The fourth-placed hosts head into the game without international trio Sullay Kaikai, Daryl Horgan and Tjay De Barr – none of whom were guaranteed to start against the visitors.

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For Pompey, though, they travel to Wycombe without two of their best players this season – goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu and midfielder Joe Morrell – and with injuries mounting up at Fratton Park.

The likes of Clark Robertson, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Ellis Harrison will all be unavailable for the game, while Cowley is keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to two other injury concerns within his first-team set-up.

Coupled with the Blues’ indifferent league form this season, the Pompey head coach believes Wanderers were calculated in their decision to allow the game to go ahead.

However, he believes Gareth Ainsworth & Co might have underestimated the task in hand – especially with Pompey unbeaten in five games – and is determined to prove them wrong.

Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth. Picture: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Speaking ahead of the game, Cowley told The News: ‘They chose to play the game, which is absolutely their prerogative.

‘They've had three call-ups and probably their three call-ups haven't been in their starting XI.

‘And that's maybe why they decided to play the game.

‘They might feel we've got some injuries at this point and also two key players on international duty that it was a good time to play us maybe.

‘They might have smelt blood.

‘If that is the case, we have to prove that we're in a good moment, which I believe we are with five matches unbeaten and three clean sheets in those five games and that we're not going to roll over for anyone.

‘I think they'll see a really determined, really committed Portsmouth team. That's certainly what we're planning to do.

‘Absolutely, (we'll be going there to prove them wrong).'