Why Paul Downing was Portsmouth skipper in friendly as Danny Cowley explains future captaincy plans

Danny Cowley has insisted Pompey's captaincy remains firmly up for grabs.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 4:57 am

And the Blues boss intends to continue rotating the armband throughout pre-season before deciding on a permanent skipper ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

Cowley has yet to name a successor for Tom Naylor, who vacated his duties when turning down a new deal at Fratton Park at the end of last season.

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In Pompey's opening two friendlies of the summer, two different candidates have donned the armband.

It was Lee Brown who led out the Blues in the 2-1 defeat to QPR's training ground on Wednesday.

The left-back was previously vice-skipper to Naylor.

Then in the 5-2 win over the Hawks at Westleigh Park on Saturday, Paul Downing was surprisingly given the duty.

Paul Downing was Pompey's captain against the Hawks. Picture: Picture: Chris Moorhouse

For Friday's clash against Crystal Palace at St George's Park, the captaincy will again rotate.

Summer signings Shaun Williams, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Clark Robertson are all in contention.

And Cowley plans to keep fans guessing until he makes his decision on who'll officially be given the role.

The head coach told The News: ‘I just want to move it around until I decide who I want to do it.

‘I'm going to look at them all and see who gives me the most leadership.

‘We still think we can bring in a bit more leadership into the group if we can. We need a bit more leadership, definitely.

‘They're all in my plans and in my thoughts. I wouldn't read anything into the captaincy.

‘We're going to move that responsibility around and decide who we think will give the most to the team or benefit the most from it.

‘I always think your real captains lead regardless of an armband.

‘It was Lee Brown against QPR and against Palace it'll be someone different. I'm going to keep you guessing!’

Naylor served as captain from September 2019 and helped Kenny Jackett reach the League One play-offs during that season.

At the same time, Gareth Evans was relieved of his role as deputy in a leadership shake-up and was replaced by Brown.

Pitman was appointed skipper after joinining the Blues from Ipswich Town in July 2017.

The striker lifted the Checkatrade Trophy aloft after Pompey beat Sunderland on penalties at Wembley in March 2019.