The Blues returned to pre-season training this week, with their first warm-up game at Hawks following next Saturday.
An obvious concern is the dearth of senior attacking options, with Cowley keen to bring in as many as four new faces in that department.
The 43-year-old has identified two profiles of striker, with a big but mobile presence required along with players who can break the lines at pace.
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Rotherham’s Mikel Miller is one of the latest names to be mentioned, with the Pompey boss keen on bringing George Hirst back to Fratton Park.
Meanwhile, a contract offer remains on the table for Aiden O’Brien although Cowley has warned that can’t remain the case indefinitely.
A huge amount of work lies ahead to get the options required before the window shuts at 11pm on September 1.
But Cowley believes that scenario is preferable to being saddled with contracted players he doesn’t necessarily want.
John Marquis and Ellis Harrison were at the top of Pompey’s wage structures before their January exits, freeing up a decent whack of Cowley’s budget in the process.
So Cowley is accentuating the positive when it comes to the situation he faces, even if he is in uncharted territory.
Cowley said: ‘It’s the first time I’ve been in the position where I’ve started pre-season without a forward, but that is the circumstance.
‘There are no doubt some managers with lots of forwards in their squads, and they don’t want those forwards.
‘So I would argue we’re in a better position, because at least we have a blank canvas and some finance to bring forwards in.
‘But they’ve got to be the right ones at the right value.
‘If we overspend it will affect us elsewhere, so we have to work within the finances we’re given.’