Striker hands Portsmouth boost head of Harrogate game but Danny Cowley still has his concerns

Danny Cowley hopes to welcome back John Marquis for Pompey’s FA Cup second-round fixture against Harrogate.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 4:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 4:03 pm
Pompey striker John Marquis

The striker has returned to training following a tendon issue and should be available for the game against Town at Fratton Park – if he continues his progress in training tomorrow.

Marquis, who has four goals this season, has missed the Blues’ past five games with the issue – a complaint he’s had since August.

In that time, Pompey have won five matches in a row to extend their unbeaten run to nine games and scored 10 times.

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Meanwhile, his stand-in, George Hirst, has eventually seen his game reach new heights, with two goals in that time.

Cowley is likely to go strong for the visit of the League Two side and keep faith in Hirst.

That’s means Marquis might have to make do with a place on the bench.

Nevertheless, the Blues boss welcomed having his No9 back available after nearly a month out.

Speaking to The News, Cowley said: ‘John’s trained today (Thursday), which is really positive.

‘All being well, if he trains again tomorrow (Friday) and there's no issues then yeah he'll be available for selection on Saturday.

‘We did a second scan, just last week, which was much clearer.

‘As a consequence, we've been able to push on off the back of that so that's been good.

‘I think really, more than the scans, you have to treat the symptoms, the player, the person and we’ve done that and we're pleased to have him back.'

Lee Brown should also be available for the visit of Harrogate after sitting out Saturday’s League One win at Gillingham with a back problem.

But despite both his and Marquis’ potential availability, along with Ellis Harrison, Paul Downing and Liam Vincent’s recent returns, Cowley said he was not in a position to rotate his squad for the Cup game.

He added: 'I don't think we're in a position to be able to rotate.

‘We don’t have the players available to do that.

‘We're allowed to use nine subs, have a squad of 20, but we're scratching around because we're short of numbers, there's no doubt about that.

‘But it is what it is.

‘We've focused very much in recent weeks on trying to find solutions, not find excuses.’

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