The key qualities Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley wants from striker he's targeting in January - and why Notts County's Kyle Wootton is better option than current forward options

An ability to hold the ball up, confidence, presence, intelligence and mobility – the key characteristics Danny Cowley is looking for in his ideal striker going into the January transfer window.

By Mark McMahon
Thursday, 30th December 2021, 5:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th December 2021, 6:45 pm

The Blues boss has made no secret of the fact he wants to add more firepower to his side going into the second half of the season.

That means likely departures for either or both of John Marquis and Ellis Harrison – if the circumstances are right for both the club and the individual.

And with Notts County’s Kyle Wootton among the front men currently on Pompey’s radar, Cowley has unearthed someone he feels can provide all of the above.

Both Marquis and Harrison will no doubt feel they, too, can provide such qualities.

However, their individual track records since arriving at Fratton Park suggests otherwise – and that’s why Pompey writer Jordan Cross believes Cowley is prioritising a new front man in January.

When asked what exactly Cowley wants from the new man to lead his line, Cross told the latest episode of Pompey Talk: ‘Danny Cowley has been very diplomatic about John Marquis and the energy he brings to the table this term, but he’s been bereft of confidence.

‘He’s not someone you can play up to, where the ball will stick.

Pompey boss Danny Cowley, left, and Notts County's Kyle Wootton

‘He’s also currently short of the threat in behind. Presence as well, he doesn’t bring that.

‘I think it’s been a frustration for Cowley that when the ball has been played forward, it’s then been coming back too quickly.

‘It has affected the way they play and teams can counter on Pompey very quickly and advance further up the pitch, knowing that they haven’t got that out-ball.

‘That has happened since March/April/May time and Cowley’s been frustrated with that.

‘People would probably say if you could get Ellis Harrison fit, he could do that.

‘I thought he possibly could, too, but Cowley’s issue with Ellis is that while he’s a tough, physical striker, he doesn’t offer the intelligence that he’s looking for in a front man.

‘He’s a great, great lad and I think he’s a great character, but perhaps that might veer slightly into the realms of being a little too laid back for Danny Cowley, just from the vibes that I pick up.’

Despite their inability to find the back of the net on a consistent basis at Pompey, Cross said neither Marquis or Harrison would be short of offers in January.

However, he warned their current wages could prove a sticking point.

He added: ‘Certainly, a fit Ellis Harrison is a problem for defenders and I think he’ll have suitors.

‘John Marquis, again, he’s scored goals in his career, and I think if a manager in League One or top end League Two are under pressure and are looking for someone to fight for survival or help a promotion push, then John Marquis might tick the box because they’re looking at his record.

‘The only factor is their wages.

‘They’re big-earners, massive earners (at League One level), same with Paul Downing and Michael Jacobs.

‘You’ve got to find takers for these and I think Pompey might have to bite the bullet somewhat in January, in stumping up wage contributions to getting these players out of the door.

‘That’s why it will run and run through the month.’