Portsmouth winning promotion from League One feels years overdue and despite enduring a stuttering start to the 2021/22, making the leap to the Championship is still achievable.
Pompey are unbeaten in their ten League One outings with Danny Cowley’s methods evidently getting through to the squad.
With the club’s fan ownership model it can be difficult for them to compete with the largest budgets in the third tier, especially in such a top heavy division this time around, they can however, demonstrate their ambition and attract players for a promotion push by standing firm and keeping hold of their prized assets.
Marcus Harness has matured very nicely to become arguably Pompey’s star man since signing from Burton Albion in the summer of 2019.
Harness appears to hold the key to Portsmouth maintaining a spot in the top six race in League One and despite interest from high-flying Blackburn Rovers, any offers should not be entertained this month.
In Cowley, Portsmouth have a progressive young manager who, in time, has the nous and network of contacts to take them to the next level. Cowley’s chances of achieving exactly that in his first full season at the club would be dented if Pompey were to cash in on Harness in January.
The 25-year-old’s deal is up at Fratton Park in the summer but the club crucially have an option to extend it by a further year which puts them in a much stronger position in the market.
The revenue increase involved in winning promotion to the Championship would certainly make keeping hold of Harness worthwhile and give them the chance to even extend his contract on the South Coast.
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Portsmouth have been in this situation more times than they would like to admit in recent years.
They have been able to stand firm and price Championship clubs out of a deal for dynamic forward Ronan Curtis, if they can be as resistant and stubborn with Harness then they stand a far greater chance of achieving promotion this season, which has to be the priority for a club of their size.
The lure of Championship football may weigh on Harness’ mind this month, but it is Cowley’s role to keep him focused on building on Pompey’s outstanding recent run that has given them a sniff of kicking on to join the automatic promotion race.