The former Lincoln City head coach may have believed his nightmare at the back was beginning to ease, after finding a solution to his left-back issues before Tuesday’s victory.
But with Sean Raggett’s suspension-yielding yellow card at Sincil Bank making him unavailable for tomorrow - coinciding with Paul Downing’s and Clark Robertson’s injuries the 43-year-old could have another headache before 2pm on Saturday with no senior centre-backs at his disposal.
Before the former Norwich defender’s absence, Pompey would have likely reverted back to a back four with Lee Brown returning from his own suspension.
And the 31-year-old’s availability may provide some alternatives to answering his boss’ conundrum.
With the Blues benefitting immensely against the Imps by reverting to a back three on Tuesday night, there is an option to do so once again.
If Cowley desires Hackett further forward on the pitch, then he could drop Shaun Williams into the left-side of the back three and push Brown to wing-back.
But there may be a reluctance to do so considering the former Millwall man’s flourishing partnership with Joe Morrell in midfield – while his inclusion in defence increased the club’s vulnerability earlier this term.
In addition, the 35-year-old slot into a back four with Brown, Ogilvie, and Romeo – hich he did on occasions for Millwall and MK Dons.
However, manager’s across England are often unwilling to employ two left-footed centre-backs which could open the door for Freeman in a back four.
And with the former Sheffield United man rarely playing at the heart of defence throughout his career, this may put paid to this idea.
A message from the Editor, Mark WaldronSupport our local team of expert Pompey writers by subscribing here for all the latest news from Fratton Park for just 11p a day. It’s our best subscription deal ever.