Cotterill knows there is no margin for error

Steve Cotterill feels there is no margin for error if Pompey are going to make the play-offs
Steve Cotterill feels there is no margin for error if Pompey are going to make the play-offs
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Steve Cotterill admitted Pompey’s play-off ambitions are on a knife edge.

The Blues boss knows one poor result is likely to kill his team’s hopes of making the top six this season.

The flying form of Cotterill’s men’s has seen them pick up seven wins from nine, with eight clean sheets along the way, to keep ambitions of an exciting end to the campaign alive.

Pompey are six points off the play-off spots with eight games of the season remaining.

They go to in-form Reading next weekend hoping to collect another big scalp on the road.

Cotterill knows, however, that one weak display from his men is likely to extinguish any aims of a dramatic finale.

But he still believes the unlikely feat can be achieved.

Cotterill said: ‘The win over Leicester puts us in it.

‘But if we go and get another dodgy result it might put us out of it. We need that bit of luck to go with it. We need everybody to stay fit.

‘Credit to their character, though, they are a great set of lads – they work hard.

‘We needed the Leicester result to know we could go into this break with it still game on for us.

‘We have got to keep believing, we’ve got to have those dreams otherwise there’s no chance.’

Cotterill is making no apologies for raising the bar high as the Championship campaign heads towards a climax.

He feels it would have been easy to drift along after crossing the 50-point barrier – largely seen as the division’s survival mark.

The focus will be on making sure his squad are ready to go again next week after being ‘shut down’ by Cotterill and handed a week of rest and recuperation.

He said: ‘I think, for sure, we needed the break.

‘We had people limping all over the place in the second half at Leicester and I’m thinking “who is going to go on next?”.

‘The amount of games has been unbelievable.

‘For the same players to keep churning these games out is a credit to them.

‘We have a couple of niggles and we haven’t been able to get them cleared up. But everybody connected with the football club is now looking more up than we are down.

‘It would have been easy to say we don’t have that fear of relegation hanging over us now. It’s a cause for achievement, I suppose – I don’t know about celebration. One thing’s for sure it would take a catastrophe for us to be relegated.’

Another of Pompey’s tough matches – at home to Norwich – has been switched from Saturday, April 30 to Monday, May 2 (7.45pm) and will be screened live on Sky Sports.

Meanwhile, two members of Cotterill’s backroom staff have both signed new contracts with the Blues.

Guy Whittingham and Ian Woan have penned new deals tying them to the club until 2013 after forging a good relationship with the manager this season.