Despite not being able to acquire a new striker on transfer deadline day, Danny Cowley may already have ideal competition for John Marquis at Portsmouth already in the form of Ellis Harrison.
Cowley signed loanees from Premier League clubs in Norwich’s Gassan Ahadme and Leicester’s George Hirst to bolster his attacking options but he was still looking for another front-man on August 31.
It all hinged on Harrison departing though with Plymouth Argyle wanting him, but the 27-year-old opted to remain at Fratton Park and fight for his place in Cowley’s plans.
Having taken over from Kenny Jackett in late March, Cowley had not been able to watch Harrison in action due to the striker picking up a season-ending injury before his arrival.
However he finally got back on the pitch with a cameo performance against Shrewsbury a few weeks ago in the league, and even though Pompey lost 5-3 to AFC Wimbledon in the EFL Trophy this week, Harrison impressed by scoring a hat-trick.
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The next step for Harrison is now to do that in the league, and Cowley has full faith in his abilities to challenge Marquis and co for a spot in his starting 11.
“I think he has got a point to prove, absolutely. I’ve liked him,” Cowley said, via HampshireLive.
“Off the back of the transfer window, we had a good chat on the 31st of August.
“He came in on the 1st of September on a day off and did some work with Nicky [Cowley] and I think he has got the bit between his teeth and rightly so.
“He’s in the prime of his career, last year didn’t go quite as well as he would’ve liked it to and it obviously culminated with him picking up an injury, but he’s got so much to offer and he showed tonight what he is capable of doing.”
Harrison could have easily sought a new challenge and at Plymouth he could’ve got that, but a hat-trick in the EFL Trophy may do wonders for his confidence.
He’s never really got going at Pompey in the two years he’s been at the club, and he’s likely not going to usurp Marquis as the first-choice striker, however he’s still got a lot left to give as an understudy or perhaps a partner.
Cowley does favour a 4-2-3-1 formation but there will end up being situations where two strikers are needed and from what we have seen already this season, Harrison is raring to impress and he may get his opportunities in League One in the coming weeks.