The Portsmouth duo who will be determined to hit the ground running in pre-season

Andy Cannon made just two appearances for Pompey after arriving from Rochdale in January. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Cannon made just two appearances for Pompey after arriving from Rochdale in January. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Dubai and New York have been the summer holiday distinations for Pompey’s two permanent January arrivals. 

While surveying the sights from the Burj Khalifa and the Empire State Building, Andy Cannon and Bryn Morris would have had the opportunity to take everything in below – before reflecting deeper when their eyes met the horizon.

Bryn Morris moved to Fratton Park from Shrewsbury in January. Picture: Joe Pepler

Bryn Morris moved to Fratton Park from Shrewsbury in January. Picture: Joe Pepler

Although they’d be enjoying their summer break, at the same time the pair would have been aware how important pre-season will be for them.

Both hit by injuries after joining from Rochdale and Shrewsbury, respectively, for undisclosed fees, Blues fans undoubtedly have yet to see the best of Cannon or Morris.

But with the hurtling progress Ben Close made, establishing himself in central midfield alongside Tom Naylor during the second half of the campaign, the task of either becoming a regular starter in Kenny Jackett’s line-up has increased.

That’s why hitting the ground running will be imperative for the duo when pre-season training begins tomorrow. 

Cannon was Pompey’s first signing of the winter transfer window.

Judging by the reaction from Dale supporters, the Blues had snapped up a highly-regarded player.

Cannon’s debut certainly franked that verdict. In what was a lacklustre performance in a 1-0 home loss to Blackpool, the 23-year-old displayed plenty of verve and dynamism during his 26-minute substitute cameo.

He was rewarded with a start in the 2-1 defeat at Oxford United the following week – which would be the last time he’d don the star & crescent last term.

A quad injury he picked up in training confined Cannon to three-and-a-half months on the treatment table.

He’d feature twice for the reserves during his rehabilitation, while he was an unused substitute in the play-off semi-final first leg at Sunderland.

Blessed with versatility, it’ll be interesting which position Jackett has him earmarked for.

Able to operate as a holding midfielder, coach Jake Wigley has previously said he feels Cannon can play in any of the three attacking roles.

Morris, meanwhile, featured eight times following his arrival for an undisclosed fee from Shrewsbury.

Like Cannon, the former England youth captain was hit by setbacks – firstly a knee problem before an ongoing back and groin complaint left him on the sidelines for almost two months. 

But there were games when Morris underlined his potential – particularly the 0-0 draw with Barnsley in February when he displayed his array of passing.

The ex-Middlesbrough man had an impressive loan spell at Wycombe during the first half of last term – scoring a superb goal in the 2-2 draw at Fratton Park.

The fact champions Luton chased him before manager Nathan Jones left for Stoke highlights Morris is recognised as a player who can be part of a promotion-winning side.

One of the two holding-midfield roles is what Morris will be eyeing up.

In truth, his game didn’t suit the number-10 position he featured in during the League One curtain-closer against Accrington when he was withdrawn at half-time.

A deeper position where he can use his vision and dictate play is more Morris’ forte.

Cannon and Morris didn’t move to Fratton Park to be bit-part players 

But with an established central-midfield partnership to dislodge, starting full throttle when Jackett’s troops reconvene will be crucial for the duo.