'A super-heavyweight of the division' - Cowley on Town

Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley speaking to journalists after the match.

Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley says Ipswich Town are a 'super heavyweight' of League One. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley heaped praise on Ipswich Town after the two sides played out a 0-0 draw at Portman Road yesterday.

Cowley said few sides in League One can compete with the Blues off the pitch, but he was proud that his team competed with Town on the grass and in the stands.

“A really hard-fought, well-earned point against a super-heavyweight of the division,” Cowley said.

“I think it’s very difficult for us to compete with them off the pitch, you’ve only got to look at their squad, the players on their bench and the players not even in their squad.

Macauley Bonne reacts after his late goal was disallowed.

Macauley Bonne reacts after his late goal was disallowed. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

“But we can compete with them on the pitch and we can certainly compete with them in the stands because I thought our supporters, I don’t know how many was here, maybe 30,000 and maybe only 2,000 Portsmouth supporters, but they were incredible today.

“An unbelievable noise and unbelievable support for a group I think that they see are giving everything.

“We’ve got 13 fit senior players, senior outfield players and for us to have played in this run of games, Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday and still be eight unbeaten with six wins is testament to the group, to their togetherness, to their spirit and their willingness to run hard for each other.”

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He added: “If you’re going to come to a team like Ipswich with the players that they have, and they’re very well coached as well, they’ve been improved significantly as the season’s gone on and I think that that shows in their results, you’re going to have to come and like always away from home, you’re going to have to enjoy defending at times and you know that if you defend well, then moments will become available on the counter-attack.

“I think we had the best chance of the game but we just weren’t able to take it, maybe we’ve taken it in recent games. Then we had other moments as well.

“We felt that if we could get to maybe 70/75 minutes then we would have a chance to push on and try to win the game but, to be fair to the players, I just think our energy reserves didn’t allow us to do that and that’s to be expected when you are where we’re at.”

Cowley also said it was clear that Town are a club on the up.

“Absolutely, you’ve just got to look at them as a football club, look at their U23s" he explained. "Look at them as a club, look at their 18s, look at their U23s, their U23s I think beat Charlton 5-1 last week.

“There are some really good players in that group, players like young (Elkan) Baggott, left-sided centre-half.

“And that’s before we get to their first-team players. What we’d do to have one, two, three, four of them coming through.

“We’re not quite there yet, we’re at a different stage in our journey, but that’s what I mean when I talk about not being able to compete with them off the pitch. I don’t think many clubs in League One can, so as not to take the quote out of context.

“They’re a club that have a clear vision and are really committed to that and good luck to them.”