'Sometimes I make decisions they don’t like' - Danny Cowley on the big Portsmouth calls as he shows ruthless side

Danny Cowley has lifted the lid on his reasoning as the axe fell on Alex Bass against Crewe Alexandra.

Sunday, 15th August 2021, 1:00 pm

And the Pompey boss promised he won’t shirk making the big calls after making some key changes in the 2-0 win over Crewe Alexandra.

Cowley made four switches from the team who emerged with credit after Tuesday’s 2-1 Carabao Cup loss at Milwall.

The standout decision came between the sticks as Gavin Bazunu was handed his debut in place of Alex Bass.

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Bass has impressed in his first two outings, keeping a clean sheet at Fleetwood and making some fine stops at The Den.

But it was the Manchester City loanee who got the nod after Cowley erred on the side of caution with him as he recovered from a quad injury.

That was one of four changes against David Artell's side, which showed the 42-year-old won’t shirk making the important shouts he feels are required.

He said: ‘Alex Bass has done great in the first two games.‘It was always our plan to look at the No1 position in mid-week and rotate it.

Danny Cowley and Gavin Bazunu after Saturday's win

‘We couldn’t do it because Gavin Bazunu wasn’t quite ready.

‘He’s a top, top keeper so we just tried to make the right call.

‘You have to remember Alex hasn’t played for a year, so asking him to play three games with the amount of kicking you have to do, we decided it was the right decision.

‘Gavin can play so high out of our goal and it allows us to use him as our pivot.

‘That allows us to get an extra man up the pitch, which is really important in that moment.

‘I will always tell the players honestly if I’m leaving them out because they’re not doing something I want them to - I’ll tell them that.

‘Today we were just tactically putting a team together to win the game.

‘I say to the players sometimes I make decisions they don’t like, and I don’t like that.

‘If I get it wrong, I try to tell them before they tell me.’

Along with Bass it was Gassan Ahadme, Connor Ogilvie and the suspended Callum Johnson who made way for Bazunu, Lee Brown, Kieran Freeman and Marcus Harness after Tuesday night.

One of the biggest shouts was handling Reeco Hackett-Fairchild his first Pompey league start after shining in London.

Cowley thought the winger’s display last time out was one which deserved to be rewarded.

He added: ‘Reeco’s a young player and when young players do well we want to give them their legs - not cut their legs from them.

‘He did equally well. He’ll do alright Reeco.

‘Look at young Gavin and Reeco - they are both tactically as intelligent as any of our players.

‘They love the game and have that thirst for knowledge.’

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