Scouting Aston Villa, Southampton and 20 matches a week: Danny Cowley lifts lid on exhaustive Portsmouth recruitment drive
Pompey are scouting 20 matches a week in a bid to identify the playing talent capable of reinvigorating their fading season.
Danny Cowley has revealed the extent of the Blues’ comprehensive recruitment drive ahead of the January transfer window.
Head of recruitment Phil Boardman and interim head of football operations Roberto Gagliardi have been constant presences at games across the country since September 1, when the previous window closed.
That is supplemented by Danny and Nicky Cowley, with the Blues’ head coach having attended under-23 matches involving Aston Villa and Southampton in recent weeks.
And Cowley insists Pompey are exploring every possibility in the pursuit of players capable of inspiring his 14th-placed team.
He told The News: ‘Ideally, you have to be as well prepared as you possibly can.
‘It’s now much easier for us as a group than it was in the summer in respect of we have actually got a team, so we know what we need.
‘In the summer, we were also working off videos because obviously there were no games to watch. I don’t like that, I like to see every player I sign live.
‘We feel in a much more stable position to be able to recruit in what is a notoriously difficult January window, but have to make sure we bring some players in to improve and get more balance to the squad.
‘Most importantly, you make sure you don’t give yourself too much to do in the following summer.
‘We’ve been looking since September 1, we are out there watching 20 games a week live between us, Phil Boardman and Roberto (Gagliardi) are out pretty much every night.
‘Myself and Nicky will always go to one or two games a week, certainly on a Saturday to Saturday.
‘I recently went to Southampton Under-23s and Aston Villa on a Sunday. It was another opportunity to watch Villa, I also watched them the Tuesday before at MK Dons.
‘We have complete clarity over what we want, complete clarity over the characters we want and playing personality.’
George Hirst, Gassan Ahadme, Gavin Bazunu, Miguel Azeez and Mahlon Romeo are the five loan players presently at Fratton Park.
He added: ‘What was very hard this summer was there were quite a few clubs with new owners, some big clubs that have really big finance.
‘We didn’t get our first, second and third choices and you know the longer you are down the list, they are down the list for a reason.
‘You have to try if you can to get your first choices, we are Portsmouth Football Club. In League One we should be able to get them if we really want to get promotion from this division.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
You can support our local team of expert Pompey writers by subscribing here for all the latest news from Fratton Park for 14p a day.