Why surprise capture of veteran ex-Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Birmingham and Leicester man makes perfect sense for Portsmouth

Immediate supporter reaction was distinctly lukewarm from many, to put it politely.

Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 6:00 pm

Yet it’s worth drawing a deep breath before assessing the rationale of bringing in the veteran central defender.

For Morrison’s arrival makes a great deal of sense – and obviously won’t abort the ongoing hunt for wide players.

Granted, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Leicester City player turns 35 before the season’s end, while a 12-month contract suggests his stay will not be a long one.

Nonetheless, Cowley views the experienced performer as adding crucial competition and cover for his two central-defenders.

Presently Sean Raggett and Clark Robertson are the favoured partnership in the Blues’ back four – and a strong one at that.

Haji Mnoga has enjoyed an encouraging pre-season and, with the right-back experiment declared over by both player and head coach, is now regarded as a centre-half.

The 34-year-old Michael Morrison has joined Pompey on 12-month deal following his Reading departure. Picture: Portsmouth FC

Yet, at the age of 20, he may require another loan spell to bolster development before equipped for a League One promotion challenge.

Then there’s the ever-versatile Connor Ogilvie, unquestionably a fine performer in the centre of defence when called upon.

However, amid Denver Hume’s ongoing injury problems, the former Gillingham man is regarded as Pompey’s first-choice left-back and has other responsibilities at present.

Considering Robertson’s injury record and the recent back issue blighting Raggett’s pre-season, the securing of another centre-half can be regarded as a necessity.

While the newcomer will also enable the Blues to operate as a back three on occasions, a tactical flexibility which still appeals to Cowley.

Morrison’s background is also an attraction, having started 29 games for Reading in the Championship last season and totalled approaching 700 in all competitions in his career.

By all accounts, he’s a powerful and battle-hardened defender, not afraid to put his body on the line and willing to shed blood for the cause.

Throw in the matter of serving as captain at many of his clubs, demonstrating a natural leadership which can only enrich a dressing room, and there’s plenty to like about Morrison’s signing.

Detractors have pointed to his age, raising comparisons with Shaun Williams and Charlie Daniels rather than Michael Doyle and Kanu.

Indeed, Harry Redknapp revitalised many careers of ageing players, while veterans formed the backbone to Paul Cook’s League Two title-winning team.

As for the pitfalls of ageing short-term signings, Robert Prosinecki, Paul Merson, David Forde, Ben Davies and Carl Baker didn’t turn out too badly.

So may we judge Morrison on his 2022-23 performances for Pompey – and not use the failings of Charlie Daniels as a barometer of his ability.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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