‘So, so unlucky’: The story of Portsmouth favourite’s barren season after Bristol City’s arrival’s exciting Fratton emergence

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Ryley Towler can count himself unfortunate to have endured a testing second Fratton campaign.

That’s the belief of John Mousinho, as he praised the professionalism of the defender and the other Pompey squad members who are finding appearance time hard to come by.

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It’s been a barren second season for the highly-touted central defender, who made a big impression after arriving from Bristol City in January.

Towler made 20 appearances over the second half of the campaign, including bagging two goals in a 3-1 victory at Fratton Park against Bolton in February.

The 21-year-old established himself as a popular figure with the Fratton faithful and looked set to kick on this term, after showing impressive form.

Towler started the opening game of the campaign alongside Regan Poole but then lost his place to Conor Shaughnessy, who struck up an outstanding partnership with the Lincoln arrival.

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After Poole’s season-ending injury in November Sean Raggett has come into the defence and performed both impressively and consistently.

Pompey’s defence is currently the most miserly in League One with the 16 clean sheets picked up to date unsurpassed in English football’s top five divisions.

That has all contributed to just one league start for Towler since the opening day, and just six minutes of league football beyond that appearance at Fleetwood in January.

Mousinho admitted the Bristol lad could count himself hard done by, as his side has impressed as a defensive unit.

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He said: ‘I’ve had no complaints (from those not playing) and the lads have handled it with really good professionalism.

‘It goes through the whole squad with players who could find themselves or could consider themselves unlucky not to have played more minutes.

‘The wide men are a really good example and Ryley is a really good example of someone who’s so, so unlucky to have found himself where he is at this stage.

‘It’s just been a consequence of who’s been playing ahead of him, the way the team has been set up and the amount of clean sheets.

‘That’s happened to a few players throughout the squad and I do feel for them, because the players deserve a lot better.’

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