Danny Cowley: Jack Muldoon reveals what Harrogate Town can expect from old manager's Portsmouth FC side

Jack Muldoon has provided some insight into what Harrogate Town can expect from FA Cup second round opponents Portsmouth on Saturday.

Saturday, 4th December 2021, 9:26 am
Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley. Picture: Getty Images

The 32-year-old Sulphurites striker played for Pompey chief Danny Cowley at Lincoln City between 2015 and 2017, helping the Imps win promotion to the Football League.

Plenty of time has passed since the pair last worked together and the Portsmouth manager is in his second job since leaving Sincil Bank in 2019, however there are some things that Muldoon is fairly certain won't have changed.

“He’s one of the best managers I’ve ever worked with,” Muldoon said of his old boss.

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Jack Muldoon in FA Cup action for Lincoln City against Premier League Burnley back in 2017.

“What the Cowleys did at Lincoln was unbelievable really. Obviously this is a completely different team now, but I know they’ll have Portsmouth organised. They’ll be so thorough in preparing to play us. They will go over every single minor detail.

“At Lincoln we had big Matt Rhead up front, so the Cowleys didn’t mind mixing it up. They were happy for us to leather it up to Rheady, but when we got into the final third we always had to play.

“He [Danny Cowley] had risk areas where he wouldn’t want you to play any football – so, in your defensive third – but any time you’re over the halfway line, he expects his attackers to play.

“At Portsmouth he’s got the players to be able to do that really effectively.”

Muldoon also revealed one of the Cowleys’ most effective methods when out of possession.

“I don’t know whether they’ll still do this now or if Portsmouth have been using this, but there used to be a six-second rule at Lincoln,” he added.

“If you lose the ball, you’ve got six seconds to win it back. After that, you all drop back into your mid-block. So that’s everyone in a square of about 35-40 yards.

“It worked. We kept something like 26 clean-sheets in a season doing that.”

Although it has been a long time since Muldoon worked with the Cowleys, he still keeps in contact with them.

“We speak quite often. They’ll give me a ring or send me a text if they’ve seen I’ve done anything,” he continued.

"We were in contact not so long ago. It's nice to keep in touch, they are both good people.

“I’ve got so much respect for them. Danny is just a charming bloke."

Town, currently seventh in League Two, set up their meeting with third-tier Portsmouth by beating National League Wrexham 2-1 last month, while Pompey edged out Harrow Borough of the Southern Premier League.

Twenty-one rungs on the Football League ladder currently separate the two sides, and Cowley's men head into the game unbeaten in nine, having won their last six on the bounce.

Harrogate's own form is more mixed, though they have won two and drawn one of their previous three on the road.

Kick-off at Fratton Park on Saturday is at 3pm.