Portsmouth boss reveals thinking over shaking up starting XI and ditching back three for Sunderland challenge

Danny Cowley revealed he’s mulling over formation and personnel changes for Sunderland.

Saturday, 2nd October 2021, 4:55 am

And he praised the efforts of both Reeco Hackett and Louis Thompson as they push for first-team inclusion.

The weak defeat at Burton Albion on Tuesday made it seven games without a win, and eight in all competitions for the Blues.

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Cowley has switched to a back three for the past three games, after operating with a back four up until that point this season.

Now he has to decide what’s the best way to attempt to stop the leaders, who has put nine of their 11 opponents to the sword this season.

Cowley said: ‘It’s always the decision you have off the back of a disappointing performance and result.

‘You look at the back and look at the changes you could make and the changes to make.

Louis Thompson. (Photo by Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com)

‘Whether that’s formation or personnel, these are the decisions you make.

‘We will pick what we see, like we always do

‘How the boys train and respond will always have a huge impact on what we pick ourselves.

‘Players pick the team - I announce it.’

Hackett and Thompson were both introduced to the game for the final 29 minutes on Tuesday night.

Hackett scored a superb free-kick with his first touch, while Thompson once again made a favourable impression.

Cowley confirmed both men are in his thoughts when it comes to his starting XI.

He added: ‘I was pleased Reeco took the free-kick.

‘He’s been practising and it would’ve been easy to get bullied off them, but he got a good one.

‘He’s a bright boy with very clever movement and very good understanding of the game.

‘You always like the players who are good learners and you only have to tell once.

‘He’s certainly put his hand up and in these moments you need people to put their hands up.

‘I thought Louis Thompson did well, too, and has been training well.

‘He gives us a physicality, robustness and also good quality on the ball.’

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