Why Portsmouth’s barren striking options may not be such a bad thing

You’d go a fair distance to find a more glass-half-full type of fella in football management than Danny Cowley.

By Jordan Cross
Sunday, 19th June 2022, 2:00 pm

But even the Pompey boss wakes up some mornings feeling a degree of trepidation at the amount of work on his plate to reshape his squad this summer.

What lies ahead for the Londoner will not reach the realms of the seismic overhaul he oversaw in his first window in the Fratton hotseat.

Nonetheless a potentially daunting amount of transfer work remains on the horizon, nine days on from the shutters coming up for business.

And, no doubt, not having a single experienced forward to call upon as his players report back for pre-season will be testing Cowley’s optimism in those tougher moments.

The cupboard is bare when it comes to the position which earns the big bucks, with 12 days until Pompey’s first warm-up game at Hawks.

Cowley addressed that subject to The News on Saturday, outlining how the work is being put in behind the scenes to tackle the issue.Pompey’s number nine shirt is a jersey which has weighed heavily on good players in the past, however.

Maybe it would be easy to recruit a body now to start filling the void, and satiate the appetite of supporters hungry for business.

Danny Cowley has to completely rebuild his striking options this summer. Picture: Paul Thompson/ProSportsImages

Cowley knows the value of potentially holding fire, however, for the more presentable business to present itself.

That could well be the case with permanent additions, and certainly will be the way when it comes to loan recruits.

So the wait continues as the list of potential attacking names being linked becomes increasingly bloated, with Barnsley’s Cauley Woodrow the latest to be added.

Cowley would like as many as four players to be in situ in that department, by the time the transfer window closes at 11pm on September 1.

Twelve months ago, even with 10 contracted players present as Pompey returned for pre-season training, there were two experienced options in the building.

But Cowley had inherited John Marquis and Ellis Harrison, and the financial commitment made to bring in the pair after their 2019 arrivals.

The duo’s wages were a significant contributor to the fact a third of Pompey’s squad were eating up two-thirds of their budget last term.

As much as he worked with them and particularly tried to cajole Marquis, neither man exactly fitted the bill in what Cowley wanted from a front man.

Pompey are no longer burdened by their salary commitments, however. Don’t underestimate the significance of those chains being broken.

And as we look on impatiently hoping for attacking faces to pitch up at Roko, just console yourself Cowley is doing so from a much stronger position than at any point in his Fratton tenure to date