'We missed a lot of what John Marquis gives us' - Danny Cowley on why axed Portsmouth striker could get instant recall against Plymouth

Danny Cowley is adamant Pompey missed John Marquis’ attacking presence in Saturday’s disappointing Cambridge United defeat.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 5:40 pm

Now, just one match after being dropped, the 29-year-old is poised for a recall against Plymouth tomorrow night (7.45pm).

Marquis was among five changes for the Blues at the weekend, with Ellis Harrison preferred as the lone centre-forward.

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Marquis, who has netted once this season, was eventually introduced off the bench in the 59th minute for Harrison.

And Cowley revealed he may go back to the last season’s top scorer for Tuesday evening’s Plymouth clash, after missing his influence.

Pompey’s head coach told The News: ‘Our aim is we press to score goals. If we can’t do that then we want to press and force them to kick long, so our defenders win it and we close the net.

‘Our front end of the pitch also has to close the net to be ready to get the second ball – and we didn’t do that well enough on Saturday.

John Marquis is poised for a recall against Plymouth after Danny Cowley admitting the striker was missed in Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Cambridge United. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘I know some are the first to criticise, but (on Saturday) we missed a lot of what John gives us. I think that’s fair.

‘He does the work of two players against the ball, 100 per cent.

‘But the number nine is a heavy shirt, sometimes you have to change the narrative for the number nine when they are under criticism.

‘All players get better when they don’t play and the team loses don’t they, that’s football.

‘John is a really good forward and I have a lot of belief in all my players – and they are all available for selection.

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‘Against the ball, John gives you some outstanding qualities. He has a real robustness of energy, an outstanding ability to follow instructions and live out game plans.

‘He is a tactical and intelligent boy – and you must have a willingness to do it.

‘It’s trying to get that balance where he has enough energy for his movement, because he has been a success throughout his career being a movement forward.’

Cambridge represented Harrison’s maiden league start under Cowley and fourth game overall having been sidelined by injury when the boss arrived last season.

Following a Papa John’s Trophy hat-trick at AFC Wimbledon, it was the chance for Cowley to assess the striker at a different level.

The Blues boss added: ‘That was the first time I have seen Ellis in what I would class as a really competitive game.

‘Obviously Papa John’s Trophy games have a lot of changes, so are harder to analyse sometimes.

‘I was pleased to have him back available for selection, that was a real positive,

‘He’s a different forward and brings other qualities. He brings physicality, at his best he can be a handful for defenders, and gives you power in the box.’

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