Portsmouth ushered in a new era this past weekend with the appointment of Danny Cowley as their new head coach.
Kenny Jackett’s near four-year reign at Fratton Park came to a close last week after an EFL Trophy final defeat and three league losses on the spin, with Portsmouth owner Michael Eisner and the board calling for change to give the team a fresh push for promotion this season.
And Cowley is a man with multiple of those on his CV, and most recently held a job in the Championship last season where he kept Huddersfield Town in the league.
The 42-year-old and his assistant head coach, brother Nicky, got off to the perfect start on Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Ipswich Town, but the hard work begins now as he has his first full week as Pompey boss.
Let’s see two things that Cowley may be worried about going into the international break, although there’s no real break for Pompey as they face Shrewsbury Town on Saturday.
Marquis injury worry
Portsmouth’s leading man this season with 13 league goals, Marquis hobbled off in extra time of the EFL Trophy final loss to Salford last week and missed the next two matches against Peterborough and Ipswich.
It was not ideal timing considering fellow striker Ellis Harrison has also been struck down by a knee injury, which will keep him out for the rest of the season, leaving just Jordy Hiwula up-top with winger Ryan Williams playing alongside him.
Cowley said after the Ipswich victory that it would be nice to have Marquis fit and ready for Shrewsbury on Saturday following his ankle injury, but he didn’t sound certain that that would be the case.
At a point of the season where Pompey need a regular supply of goals and wins to move them up the table, Cowley will be sweating on the fitness of the former Millwall and Doncaster man all week.
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How players will react to his methods
A change of manager can lead to new systems, but Cowley decided to stick with a 4-4-2 on Saturday that Jackett has frequently opted for this season.
That was after just one training session though, so Cowley will not have had adequate time to assess his squad and how to play going forward.
This week will be crucial though as Cowley will find out how the players will react to his training methods and tactical plans, and they could define how the season ends for Pompey, whether that be in the play-offs or outside of them.
The chances are that things will go well – after all he’s made an immediate impact by getting his new players to turn the game around against Ipswich at the weekend – but it will be better to judge when he’s had multiple games in the hot-seat.