Cotterill calls for Carling Cup overhaul

Steve Cotterill
Steve Cotterill
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Steve Cotterill has called for a revamp of the Carling Cup.

The Pompey boss believes the competition needs an overhaul to boost its flagging popularity.

Cotterill reckons the tournament should be incorporated into pre-season to help inject life into it.

Pompey were humbled by Barnet earlier this month as they crashed out in the first round.

Just 4,464 fans were at Fratton Park to see Mark Hughes get the only goal of the game.

Pompey couldn’t reduce ticket prices for the clash, with Barnet not willing to entertain any changes.

Cotterill believes the game being crunched in between two league fixtures makes it tough on fans’ wallets.

He feels shifting the early round to before the start of the league campaign can help to inject popularity back into the competition.

Cotterill said: ‘I don’t know what happens with the Carling Cup. I don’t quite know what we should do with it. Maybe we should start making them pre-season games.

‘Then you’d get more fans there in a pre-season game under the Carling Cup banner.

‘We’d get more at a pre-season game than we would at home to Barnet in the Carling Cup as it stands.

‘At the moment you don’t get anyone going which doesn’t do the cup justice.

‘It gets concertinaed in between two league games and it just gets too expensive.

‘Let’s revamp it and do it in pre-season.

‘It’s still a big cup. I used to watch it as a boy. It was always a big game. Now that doesn’t happen until the semi-final, when it can become a fantastic day out at Wembley.

‘We need to look at it.’

A whole host of top-flight clubs and outfits in the Championship have crashed out to lower league opposition in the Carling Cup so far.

That means Pompey are far from the only side to have been upset in the competition.

Cotterill said: ‘It was the end of the world when we got beat by Barnet. I wonder what all the other clubs who went out think about it,

‘On the first night we looked like one of the big clubs to go out, one of the biggest scalps.

‘Well, there’s been bigger than us who have gone out since.’