Cotterill contemplates right-hand man help

Steve Cotterill, centre, is searching to replace Ian Woan, left
Steve Cotterill, centre, is searching to replace Ian Woan, left
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Steve Cotterill’s search for Ian Woan’s replacement is under way.

Yet the Blues boss remains undecided whether that will finally pave the way for him to employ an assistant manager.

The popular Woan is set to join Watford this week, quitting his first-team coaching role with the Blues to become assistant manager at Vicarage Road.

That will see the former Nottingham Forest midfielder link up with best friend and new Hornets boss Sean Dyche.

It will leave Cotterill with just first-team coach Guy Whittingham and goalkeeping coach John Keeley in his backroom staff.

Elsewhere, Andy Awford is busy rebuilding the youth set-up.

Cotterill has never had an assistant since arriving at Fratton Park in June last year.

It is an unusual scen-ario, partly influenced by the financial situation the club has found itself in during that period.

Now Cotterill has the chance to bring in a right-hand man.

However, he remains undecided what role any newcomer would have in his coaching set-up.

Cotterill said: ‘Woany called me Friday morning and sounded a little bit upset about it, which I suppose was nice.

‘It shows he has had a good time here.

‘Maybe he wants a change. I don’t think it would have been advantageous to block it, so he’s going to move on and we wish him all the best.

‘We quickly move on. I have got to hunt around and find somebody else now.

‘Whether it is an assistant or first-team coach, I don’t know at the moment. I am going to have a little look at that.

‘That might depend on the person that I go for, so I’ll wait and see on that one.

‘There is a tinge of sadness with Woany going but football is a transitional sport so we have got to try to move on and I’ve got to think quietly and carefully now.

‘The dynamics of the group has been right – that’s important to stay like that. You don’t want one person coming in and blowing up the dynamics of everything else.

‘I have got to try to make sure I get that right.

‘As well as somebody having good football knowledge, the personality has got to be right.’

Woan arrived at Fratton Park in July 2007 as under-18s coach as part of Paul Hart’s new regime.

When Hart became first-team manager, the 43-year-old stepped up to assist.

Woan remained in the coaching set-up under Avram Grant and then Cotterill, proving to be a popular figure.

And Cotterill admitted he would miss Woan’s input.

He added: ‘I pretty much think I’ll stay friends with Woany.

‘We’ve been through a lot together and I think what happens is when you’ve been across the water with the pre-season we had and the topsy-turvy season we had, you end up getting a bit of a special bond.

‘I feel like that with all of my staff.

‘So when one of them leaves it is almost like one of my kids are leaving home.

‘He’s quite a character and has done a good job for this football club.

‘I think he is sad to leave but it might be one of those ones like I said 12 months ago when Paul Groves left.

‘Sometimes they get scarred by what has happened – there has been a lot going on at this club over the past couple of years.

‘We just thank him for his efforts and wish him good luck in his new post.’