Danny Cowley has provided an update on Ellis Harrison which explains why he did not move to Bolton Wanderers.
The Portsmouth manager has explained why the Trotters failed to secure a deal for the striker during the transfer window.
Bolton were reportedly keen on a move for the centre-forward, with Cowley now revealing that Harrison asked to stay at the south coast club on deadline day as he was not looking to seal an exit from Fratton Park despite transfer interest.
He told Hampshire Live: “I had a really good conversation with Ellis on the telephone [on Tuesday] evening. He explained his reasons. It is absolutely his prerogative to want to stay.
“We didn’t want to lose him. He’s in the last year of his contract. He is motivated, he knows that it is really important for him in his career after a difficult year last year that he plays regularly and he knows that he controls that and he owns that.
“We need to get him fit enough, so that when he penetrates, he can become a handful because he stretches the pitch. Defenders don’t like forwards that run in behind and then defenders get deeper, it then gives him the opportunity then to pin up and you can play in to him and up to him and then he can start to link the play.
“I think there had been some interest, he had spoken to clubs, but he still feels he has got unfinished business here.”
Ian Evatt will surely be frustrated by these comments from Cowley as it means that Harrison decided he would rather play a supporting role at Pompey instead of potentially coming to Bolton and being a key figure. If the Trotters’ interest in him was genuine, that means he snubbed the chance to make the move, which will be disappointing to Evatt as it suggests he did not do enough to convince the 27-year-old that it was the right decision.
As Cowley explained, there was interest in Harrison and he did speak to clubs about a transfer. If Bolton were one of those, that means they ultimately failed in their attempts to bring him to the northwest, rather than it being a case of Portsmouth refusing to sell him.
This is doubly frustrating for Evatt, as it becomes an issue with Bolton rather than Portsmouth. The 39-year-old may need to do more to ensure that players want to join the club and are desperate to make the move so that the Trotters do not encounter similar problems in the future. Whether that means improving the training facilities or putting together a better pitch to give to targets remains to be seen, though.
The £4.3k-per-week Portsmouth forward has played one minute of League One football this season and only started 11 matches last term. This highlights the backup role he plays within Cowley’s team and why his decision to remain there is particularly frustrating for Evatt, as he has decided to continue being a bit-part player at Fratton Park instead of joining Bolton.