Portsmouth fans send clear transfer message to Danny Cowley ahead of much-needed recruitment drive
The Fratton faithful have sent a clear transfer message to Danny Cowley – up front and central midfield must be his recruitment priority this summer.
And the recommended best way to guarantee long-term success in that search should be by signing young players who are hungry and can improve under his guidance.
The Blues boss is currently overseeing a huge squad overhaul following the conclusion of the 2020-21 League One season.
In the immediate aftermath, Andy Cannon, Charlie Daniels and Jordy Hiwula were among those told they could leave upon the expiry of their contracts.
Goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray is also out of the picture, while Jack Whatmough, Tom Naylor, Ben Close and Ryan Williams are expected to depart after failing to reach an agreement on new deals offered to them.
Pompey are already looking for replacements for the above and The News understands that discussions are currently taking place with at least 10 new players.
No arrivals have yet been confirmed, despite there being plenty of speculation linking players to Fratton Park.
But before any concrete moves are made, the Blues fans have had their say via our Big Pompey Survey on what they would like to see take place on the transfer front this summer.
And top of that list is a striker and central midfield reinforcements.
At one stage in the season, Pompey boasted being the division’s top scorers and were rated among the best in England for finding the back of the net.
Yet come the end of term, just like their league placing, their goalscoring reputation fell by the wayside.
John Marquis might have ended the campaign with 18 goals – but it was nowhere near enough to book a play-off place.
Meanwhile, there was little support from elsewhere, with Ronan Curtis (14) and Marcus Harness (10) the only others to reach double figures.
Both wide men had stints up top, either as a replacement for Marquis or as a strike partner for the former Doncaster Rovers front man.
Yet it’s the need for a guaranteed goal return that participants of our survey believe must be the primary focus of Cowley in his recruitment drive.
Indeed, it topped the fans’ poll, with 39.2 per cent believing that a new striker must be his priority.
Bar Marquis, Ellis Harrison is the only other recognised centre-forward in the Blues’ ranks – yet he only found the net six times in 31 appearances.
The need for striking reinforcements is quickly followed by an urgency to find a player or players to be Pompey’s driving force in midfield.
At present, the Blues have no-one to fulfil the role, with Naylor, Cannon, Close all having futures away from Fratton Park, and loanees George Byers and Harvey White now back at their parent clubs.
So supporters recognise the importance that part of the recruitment drive must take, with 34.8 per cent believing it’s an area Cowley must address as quickly and as smartly as possible.
A recognised No10 should also be high on the manager’s most-wanted list, with 10.8 per cent urging Cowley to solve a long-established problem area.
Meanwhile, 9.1 per cent believe a new centre-back must rate as a priority.
Surprisingly, only 4.3 per cent accept that a new goalkeeper is a top requirement, despite the Blues parting company with News/Sports Mail player of the year Craig MacGillivray.
Less than two per cent believed the full-back and wide midfield roles needed attention as a matter of urgency.
So where best to shop for these players?
Well, the message is clear – by signing young players with a real desire to take the Blues to the next level.
Cowley has previously said it was a route he’s prepared to go down – and the Fratton faithful agree, with 42.3 per cent believing a younger, dynamic, fresh-faced approach is the best way forward.
If some of those are already proven League One performers, then great. Thirty-three per cent of our readers would like that type of quality brought in.
But there’s clearly little appetite for ‘marquee signings’, with just 8.6 per cent of the opinion that that’s a route the Blues need to go down.
Sixteen per cent believed top League Two players or below was how Pompey should prioritise their recruitment over the coming weeks.
It’s obvious that Cowley will have his work cut out between now and the end of the transfer window if these recommendations are to be met.
And with 58.9 per cent believing that 7-10 new additions were needed, along with 29.2 per cent claiming 11-14 arrivals was the requirement, it’s appears he has no time to lose!