Danny Cowley was appointed as Portsmouth manager in March of 2021, following the departure of Kenny Jackett. Before Pompey, Cowley had previously managed Concord Rangers, Braintree Town, Lincoln City and Huddersfield Town.
As a player Cowley played semi-professionally in the Essex area before becoming Concord Rangers manager in 2008. The club was then playing in the Essex Senior Football League, in front of crowds of around 50 people. In his first season the club was promoted to the Isthmian League Division One North, and narrowly missed out on a second successive promotion the following year, before being promoted a year later. After two seasons of consolidation, Cowley won his third promotion with the club, this time to the National League South. In his last season in charge, Concord reached the first round proper of the FA Cup, while narrowly missing out on a play-off spot.
These achievements were picked up on by National League Braintree Town, who appointed Danny in 2015. Danny then managed a side that recorded their record league finish, sitting third and in the play-offs at the season end.
After just one season in charge of Braintree, Cowley moved on again to Lincoln City on 13 May 2016. During Cowley's first season in charge of Lincoln, he oversaw the club's promotion back to the Football League by winning the National League title with two games to spare. In the same season Lincoln became the first non-league club to reach the quarter-final of the FA Cup in over a century, knocking out Championship sides Ipswich Town and Brighton & Hove Albion, followed by Premier League side Burnley, in the process. Lincoln eventually lost 5–0 to Arsenal in the quarter-finals. A great achievement that Championship side Huddersfield saw.
Cowley was appointed Huddersfield manager in September 2019 but was sacked in July of 2020 after the Chairman announced he was looking for a different vision.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Striker Joe Pigott joined Pompey in the summer after a fairly unsuccessful year at Ipswich Town, where he only managed two league goals in 22 appearances. The season before, Pigott scored 20 for AFC Wimbledon, and even scored against the Reds in our second-round FA Cup clash at Plough Lane.
Pigott has not been a starter so far this season for Cowley’s men, as other new signings Colby Bishop and Dane Scarlett have been on hot form in the league that Pompey sit top of the table in, so tonight’s Papa John’s Trophy game will likely give him the opportunity to play from the start.
Pigott did start in Pompey’s Carabao Cup first-round mauling of Cardiff in the Welsh capital, as he scored in a 0-3 away win which saw them progress into the next round, where they lost to another Welsh side in League Two Newport County. The 28-year-old’s other goal this season came from the penalty spot as he came on as a substitute in a 3-1 home victory against Joey Barton’s Bristol Rovers.
Midfielder Hackett-Fairchild has also been used off the bench by Danny Cowley this season, making him a likely figure to start in tonight’s game. Hackett was born in the London Borough of Redbridge, and started his career in the youth sides of Fulham and Brighton & Hove Albion.
He then joined the Academy side at local outfit Dagenham & Redbridge in the summer of 2014 to start a two-year scholarship. In March 2016, he joined Isthmian League Premier Division side Dulwich Hamlet on a youth loan and went on to make one appearance in a draw against Wingate & Finchley. At the end of the season he failed to earn a professional contract at Dagenham and was subsequently released. He later joined Norwich City and then Charlton Athletic on a six-week trial.
His trial at Charlton proved to be successful and he was rewarded with an initial three-month contract which was later extended until the end of the season. He was part of the under-23 side that won the regional league title and penned a one-year contract extension due to his contribution during the campaign. He made his professional debut in August 2017, before playing five times in the league for the first-team that campaign.
The 24-year-old had loan spells at Boreham Wood and Bromley before joining Bromley permanently in 2019, he was then picked up by Portsmouth only a year later.
This season, he has featured in every single competitive game either as a starter or a substitute, and is yet to score, but has claimed one assist.
After three successive meetings with Portsmouth in the Papa John’s Trophy between 2017 and 2019, Crawley will meet with Pompey once again in the competition tonight. Reds lost the previous three 3-1 at Fratton Park in 2017, 0-1 at home in 2018, and 1-0 away in 2019.
Crawley have won one of the six League meetings between the sides back on Boxing Day 2012 when goals from Billy Clarke and Gary Alexander sealed a 2-1 success at Portsmouth.
That season we had two players sent off and lost 3-0 at home in the first competitive meeting between the clubs while in the 2015-16 campaign the sides drew 0-0 at Crawley and Pompey won the return 3-0.
The following season saw Pompey win the home clash 3-0 and 2-0 at Crawley on their way to promotion from League Two. We also met Portsmouth in pre-season back in July of 2019 as we lost out 2-1 with Mason Bloomfield scoring for Crawley late on.
“This is a game where we are representing the football club, and we go into every game aiming to win and to perform well at the same time. The level of opponents can make that difficult for us with the likes of Fulham and Bristol Rovers. We now have another very high-level team to face in Portsmouth. They are flying in League One, and we are expecting a very tough game.
“The players that play in this game need to show their worth and why they are good enough to play in the first-team and also prove why they should or could be picked to face Salford on Saturday.
“We have had some very bad luck with injuries over the last few games, and that was clear to see when we had to make two changes to the team that did so well against Fulham last Tuesday. That’s the luck we are having at the moment, and we need to accept that and stay positive, and the players need to step up as well while we ride this storm.
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