Boss thanks ref for advice

Steve Cotterill in the directors' box
Steve Cotterill in the directors' box
Brett Pitman was on the mark again for Pompey as they earned a draw against Walsall Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey 1 Walsall 1: Jordan Cross’ match report

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Steve Cotterill insisted he had not been shown the red card by the referee after his second-half no-show.

The Blues boss failed to take his usual position in the technical area after the break with Ian Woan barking out the orders from the touchline.

Cotterill made a brief appearance in the directors’ box but then took a higher vantage point later on, standing by one of the stairwells in the south stand for the latter stages of the game.

While most assumed Cotterill had been sent off by referee Neil Swarbrick for something he’d said at half-time, the boss explained he had only been advised to take a position in the stands after the break.

Cotterill said: ‘I had words with the fourth official at half-time and the referee said “I think it would be a good idea Steve, so that you don’t get into any more trouble, that you stay up in the stands for the second half.”

‘He was right. I didn’t get into any more trouble and I didn’t get sent off.

‘It was a wise decision and I have to thank him for that really because he was right – I might have got into some trouble.’

Despite some suggestions he had been involved in a row with a Pompey fan during his stint in the south stand, Cotterill revealed he had simply been given a few ideas on improving Pompey’s fortunes by an eager supporter.

Cotterill smiled: ‘When I went into the stand, someone said to me “you want to get a back four, Steve”.

‘Well that’s great. It would cost about £3m if we want to get some good ones and put a back four together.

‘Does anyone think that I don’t want to do that?

‘Give me the money and I will spend it – 100-per-cent.

‘Nobody said too much to me up there but at least the wind was nowhere near as bad.

‘It was shocking down on the pitch and it ruined the game.’

Cotterill was also quick to praise the supporters who stuck with their side to get the late equaliser.

He said: ‘Without those fans, we would not have got back into that game.

‘The fans helped us no end because if they’d have gone and given up on us, we’d have had no chance of coming back into the game. No chance.’