In the aftermath of Saturday’s dismal 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Harrogate Town, the Blues boss revealed the reason for Louis Thompson’s absence.
The midfielder had sustained a hip injury in training when pencilled in for his sixth start in eight matches.
Thompson’s career has been devastated by injury, yet was being eased into regular first-team participation at Fratton Park.
He now joins Ryan Tunnicliffe, Clark Robertson, Paul Downing and Jayden Reid on the sidelines.
That meant veteran Shaun Williams switched from defence into midfield duty, alongside the recalled Miguel Azeez.
Cowley told The News: ‘Louis has a hip injury. I don’t know how long he’ll be out for, you’ll have to ask the medical team.
‘It happened in training, otherwise he would have started the game, 100 per cent.
‘We picked the team that we thought was the most ready to play. It hasn’t been easy preparation, I just feel so much is going against us at the minute.
‘To be fair to Willo (Shaun Williams), he has played so much football this season. There have been so many games – and for a 35-year-old.
‘It's another match for him which he would never ever have thought he would be playing in.
‘We never anticipated him featuring, but he had to. We’ve had to rely on him massively this season, there have just been so many injuries.
‘But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we have been good at finding solutions – although didn't on Saturday.’
Saturday also represented a fifth Pompey start for Azeez during a loan spell when appearances have been fitful.
He has, however, enjoyed more regular involvement of late, being utilised in six of the Blues’ last eight fixtures in all competitions.
The Arsenal loanee, though, struggled to make an impact against the League Two side, not helped by a first-half booking and then apparent final warning for kicking the ball away.
Cowley, however, was satisfied with the 19-year-old’s input.
He added: ‘Miguel did fine, he’s a young player learning this trade and had some good moments, he nearly scored.
‘It will be another really good experience for him.’
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