Where Danny Cowley's recruitment now stands as Portsmouth's squad overhaul continues to challenge Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town, Sunderland, Wigan Athletic, Charlton Athletic & Co

There’s nothing like a flurry of transfer activity to lift the spirits.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 6:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 6:09 pm
Danny Cowley

So last night’s quickfire Pompey double deal was greeted like a refreshing breeze sweeping across the island city, in the sticky heat of summer belatedly finding its feet.

After a relative period of quiet, moves for Gassan Ahadme and Jayden Reid were received with the enthusiasm you would expect from a fanbase thirsting for business.

Ahadme has found goals in pre-season and Reid has shown potential, both providing enough of each for Danny Cowley to feel they’re a worth a punt and place in his Fratton rebuild.

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But let’s not get away from the size of the task facing the Pompey boss moving forward - both in the coming weeks, and when that bid to push this club towards their natural standing in the football order at the fifth attempt begins on August 7.

The latest recruits takes Pompey’s summer signings to eight, yet Cowley’s overhaul is so vast he’s probably only just past the half-way mark when it comes to the work required to put a competitive squad together.

Before the addition of Kieron Freeman on July 11, Cowley spoke publicly of still requiring ‘eight or nine’ new faces.

With three signings in since that date, that logically stands at five or six players still being required among a squad of 20.

And you only have to peruse the gaping holes in the Londoner’s squad to see targeting that amount of work isn’t hyperbole.

Defensively, a left-back is clearly still needed with Brandon Mason on trial from Coventry while, with three central defenders, the squad still looks a body light in that area.

Moving forward and things begin to look a little more concerning with veteran recruit Shaun Williams and Ryan Tunnicliffe the only central midfielders at the club.

Jay Mingi has caught the eye in that area on trial and Sean Goss currently in the building - with a further two midfield signings required.

There’s plenty which could still happen in wide areas, with Ronan Curtis openly keen to test himself in the Championship and Michael Jacobs having recent talks about a move to Ipswich.

Even with both still at the club Pompey look light there, with Reid seen as one for the future and Reeco Hackett-Fairchild yet to show his worth.

Then we turn to the thorny striker conversation.

Ahadme’s goal streak in pre-season has created optimism at what he could offer, although, even at 50/1, eyeing him for the division’s golden boot may be a tad premature.

He joins a pair who so much was hoped of under Kenny Jackett, yet, to date, have come up short of this club’s lofty striking aspirations.

We wait with hope for John Marquis and Ellis Harrison to hit the heights next term, but are a pair who’ve ultimately underwhelmed and an exciting but untried attacking prospect going to be enough?

The money and wages tabled for Jayden Stockley confirms a premium, by League One standards, could still be paid for the right additions in the right area - that may yet be up front.

So, without another departure it looks like two defenders, two midfielders, one winger and possibly a striker are still to come through the mock Tudor facade at the end of Frogmore Road.

That would take Cowley to the 26-man squad which fulfils his criteria of a ‘lean and mean’ 22, with four young prospects on the fringes hungrily staking their claim - either here or out on loan.

So yes, be lifted by the work completed so far and take energy from Tuesday’s rare double deal.

But also be in absolutely no doubt that in the harshest third-tier terrain seen for more than a decade, so much more is still required to ensure Pompey punch their League One weight.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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