Boss eyes break from ‘unforgiving’ competition

Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Conor Chaplin. Pic: Joe Pepler

Baker and team selection to fore as Pompey fans have say

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Pompey boss Steve Cotterill believes the season can’t end soon enough for his battered troops.

The Blues have four matches remaining before the curtain falls on a difficult campaign.

They each represent something of a dead rubber in terms of Pompey’s ambition.

With safety assured and the play-offs beyond reach, the season is dragging to a close.

For Cotterill, his battle-weary players are now running on empty.

Next they face Swansea on Saturday – a side seeking to maintain a promotion push.

And Cotterill admitted for his shattered players’ sake it would be best if the season had already finished.

He said: ‘I always look forward to my football. I love my football and when the summer comes, no matter how tough this season has been, I’ll miss it.

‘But I think the players have been absolutely flogged to death and it would be better perhaps for the season to come to an end right now, for sure.

‘This Championship is a tough one and it’s unforgiving.

‘We have worked with the smallest squad in the Football League this season and on a regular basis have had five loan players in the team.

‘We have got to where we have got to on a wing and a prayer.

‘If you have not got a team firing on all cylinders you are going to get chinned – and we have been chinned a few times this year because we’ve been a bit weary.

‘But there will be a lot of clubs that would have loved to have the points we’ve got and still be in the Championship next year.

‘We’ve got four games left. We have got to try to keep 11 players on the pitch and do our best in those games.

‘We need to make sure we get back up for those.’