After missing out on the League One play-offs on the final day of the 2020/21 season, Danny Cowley has started to make changes to the Portsmouth squad.
Even though their final day loss against Accrington Stanley meant that they finished outside of the top six, the Pompey hierarchy believe that Cowley is the man to take them forward and hopefully up into the Championship.
Cowley signed a long-term contract to do just that and he’s already beginning to change the team around, starting with releasing some senior players.
The likes of Jordy Hiwula, Bryn Morris and Charlie Daniels have all left, an option hasn’t been taken up on first-choice goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray’s contract and it looks like captain Tom Naylor will be moving on despite being offered a new deal.
One released player that was perhaps a bit of a surprise though was Andy Cannon, who made 43 league appearances for Pompey this season.
The midfielder was a regular starter under Kenny Jackett but when Cowley arrived he wasn’t fully fit, and it seems as though the new head coach wants to go for a different style of midfielder to replace Cannon’s box-to-box abilities.
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“I think Andy had a really good season, I think he had a really good season,” said Cowley, per HampshireLive.
“Unfortunately, when we arrived he was struggling with a back injury which meant we weren’t able to use him how we would’ve liked.
“Sometimes, you are just looking for certain players that can fit your game idea and game model.
“You are always looking for certain characteristics in players. We like to see learning capacity, we always try to find players that we can really help and develop and improve.”
It was quite a surprise to many Portsmouth fans that Cannon was let go considering how often he was used, but when Cowley explains his decision it makes a bit more sense.
Cannon is probably best in a midfield three – not in a holding role but not in a ‘number 10’ position either, and in a 4-2-3-1 the head coach will be looking for someone more creative in that attacking midfield position.
The player himself may think it’s harsh that he hasn’t been offered a fresh deal, but he should have no issues in finding a new club in League One.