'Very unfair' - Danny Cowley urges Portsmouth fans not to judge Leicester loanee George Hirst on 51 minutes of league football
Danny Cowley insists it would be ‘very unfair’ to judge Geoge Hirst’s prodigious talents based on 51 minutes of League One action.
And the Leicester loanee is set to be handed his long-anticipated maiden Pompey start in Tuesday’s Papa John’s Trophy trip to AFC Wimbledon.
The 22-year-old arrived at Fratton Park on a season-long loan just four days before the Blues’ campaign kicked off.
Since then he has made five appearances, all coming off the bench to replace John Marquis.
Cowley insists he has been easing Hirst into first-team action after his pre-season was wrecked by the hamstring injury sustained while on loan at Rotherham at the end of last term.
Now the former England youth international is ready to step up his Pompey involvement – and reflect his true worth.
Cowley told The News: ‘George is a young player with a point to prove and still trying to get fit.
‘He tore his hamstring in the second from last game of last season, so we knew when we picked him up that it was going to be a progressive period.
‘He obviously joined us late, but he’s nearly there. He will play on Tuesday, we’re just trying to get him fit and firing.
‘George has played 51 minutes in the league so far, it’s very difficult. Not many players get a profile as a super sub, unless you are Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and of that ilk.
‘It will be very unfair to judge George on that, but that’s football, people will.
‘You can judge him, but you will probably get two wrong answers. 51 minutes doesn’t give you enough sample size to be able to assess someone’s capabilities.
‘Maybe this is the world we live in, we want to judge too quickly, too soon.
‘He has talent, he has ability, he is going to be a good player. We are going to get him firing – and hopefully you can see it.’
Cowley was unable to land the number nine he craved on transfer deadline day this week.
Instead he must settle on Marquis, Hirst or Ellis Harrison for the role before January’s window opens.
Although he counts Gassan Ahadme as another consideration, following his eye-catching eight goals in pre-season.
Cowley added: ‘I see George as a number nine option – and we think Gassan can play in that position as well.
‘He played there against Havant (in pre-season) and did quite well in that game.
‘Tuesday at Wimbledon is a great match, I love the EFL Trophy games. Some of the rest of the world don’t, but it’s football.
‘Those games are great and I want to win it. I’ve been to the final once before and we won!’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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