If that enforced time off wasn’t frustrating enough, upon their return they must complete eight games in 26 days during a hectic finale.
With successive blank Saturday’s ahead, Cowley seeks to restore energy levels clearly at rock bottom judging from the manner of their goalless draw to Wycombe.
He will kick off the period with several days off for his small squad, before those not on international duty return to the training ground.
And the Blues’ head coach has stressed the importance of allowing his tired troops time to recharge.
Cowley told The News: ‘We’ve now got a break off the back of Wycombe.
‘So on Saturday we thought we could empty the tank and give it everything we had, but we just lacked the sharpness, and that’s the truth.
‘The boys now have a couple of days to try to freshen up physically and mentally, which I think they need.
‘They are human beings and it has been a tough schedule.
‘That’s the front end of it really. We will freshen them up, it’s always a balance between fitness and freshness.
‘Then we’ll get on the training pitch and keep trying to work and improve. I still think we’ve got loads of areas we can improve on and develop.
‘We have a clear model for the next few weeks, it’s really straightforward for us.
‘You just have to plan technical days, tactical days, physical days – and plan where you put your strength sessions in.’
Cowley’s player numbers were boosted on Saturday following the return of Marcus Harness from suspension and Michael Jacobs from injury.
Harness started the goalless draw with Wycombe in place of Ronan Curtis, while Jacobs appeared as a 57th-minute substitute.
That meant no place on the bench for teenage pair Harry Jewitt-White and Liam Vincent, who have both yet to feature in the Football League.
Rare squad decisions for Cowley, although the Blues still couldn’t find a way through the Chairboys’ defence.
While Gavin Bazunu was the undisputed man of the match amid a disappointing team showing.
Cowley added: ‘It was a hard-earned point, we lacked energy. We’ve had a really tough run of games with a very, very small squad.
‘Three tough away games, the fixtures haven’t been too kind.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
You can support our local team of expert Pompey writers by subscribing here for all the latest news from Fratton Park for 9p a day, thanks to our 30%-off transfer window deal.