Why Danny Cowley believes the time is right for Portsmouth to discard past transfer strategies and rewrite blueprint

Danny Cowley believes the right transfer blueprint is now in place to bring success back to Pompey.

By Mark McMahon
Friday, 1st July 2022, 7:27 pm

And he has backed himself to deliver on that front as the club purposely moves away from previous transfer window strategies.

Despite the signing of 31-year-old former academy product Marlon Pack, the Blues are determined to recruit young, up-and-coming players this summer.

It’s a clear shift from past recruitment drives following Pompey’s promotion to the third tier in 2017.

In the four summer windows that followed under Kenny Jackett, established names at League One level or those prepared to drop down from the Championship were the norm arrivals, with a sprinkling of inexperience added for good measure.

Cowley adopted a similar approach last year during his first window in charge, with Shaun Williams, Ryan Tumnicliffe, Clark Robertson Kieron Freeman and Louis Thompson among those recruited.

The likes of Gavin Bazunu, George Hirst, Miguel Azeez and Jayden Reid ensured youth was also added to the ranks – with Bazunu and Hirst proving huge successes.

Now, as the Blues prepare for a sixth season in the third tier, the Pompey boss reiterated the belief that recruiting up-and-coming players is the best way to proceed.

Pompey boss Danny Cowley

And if fans have doubts, then Pompey’s consistency at coming up short in the past five promotion races should set them straight.

Speaking to The News ahead of Saturday’s pre-season friendly at the Hawks, Cowley said: ‘This club has been in League One for five seasons now and, historically, I think, it’s tried to sign players from the Championship, maybe on their way down, maybe without a feeling for the club.

‘Maybe they’ve tried to sign from the top end of League One.

‘They’ve done that for five years and come up short, so I think now is the time to try and build something.

‘With young players, they bring an unbelievable amount of energy, enthusiasm. If we sign the right characters they will be humble and will have real learning capacity and they’ll have growth and we’ll be able to see them grow and improve.

‘The one thing we really believe in is that we can develop young players and history suggests this is true.

‘Yes, young players will also have their moments, their inconsistencies and at times make bad decisions due to a lack of experience, but I look at us and what we have and I see this as the only route to success because the division has evolved and moved on.

‘Our job is to know where we are today, to have a clarity and clear vision of where we want to go and then work out how do we get there.

‘But once you know the start and the destination, the stepping stone become clear.’

Chief executive Andy Cullen confirmed during the week that Pompey were currently moving away from signing out-of-contract players as they focused on emerging talent.

It doesn’t mean that Pack’s arrival will be accompanied by a host of youngsters as the Blues continue their search for the best available players that suit their model.

However, Pompey are clearly thinking more and more long term.

Cowley added: ‘When we talk about young players, we already have some good young players at the club.

‘But it doesn’t mean the next, five, six, seven signings we’re going to make are all going to be young.

‘We need some experience within that but we want to be able to work to have enough players that will have potential growth in them.’