Cotterill relieved as ‘mayhem and chaos’ are left on bench

Pompey fans made a crucial contribution this season
Pompey fans made a crucial contribution this season
Curtis Main celebrates his winner against Charlton in the Checkatrade Trophy with Kal Naismith and Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

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There have been a few recurring themes to Pompey’s season.

Mayhem and chaos have been two of them, according to Blues boss Steve Cotterill.

But so have the factors which have allowed his club to look forward to a new campaign in the Championship.

Cotterill believes two factors emerged as the major players in giving his team the platform to secure a mid-table finish.

And without them he dreads to think where the football club would be right now.

The 46-year-old feels the generosity of his contemporaries in allowing him to build some semblance of a squad from loan signings has been of monumental significance.

Ritchie de Laet, Greg Halford, Jonathan Hogg, Ibrahima Sonko, Carl Dickinson and David Cotterill have supplemented Cotterill’s options. Choices that were in desperately short supply.

Cotterill knows the likelihood is a fee will now be needed to attract the likes of de Laet and Halford back to Fratton, as they enter the last year of their contracts.

Temporary additions will again play a big role in the club moving forward.

As will the spirit the man from Cheltenham feels has ran from the stands to the dressing room at Pompey this season.

That is the other big contributory factor in Pompey’s progress in the eyes of the boss.

And, as the club hopefully edges towards a new dawn, he believes it is critical that synergy remains intact.

‘There are some important ingredients in where we’ve got to,’ said Cotterill, as he reflected on a dramatic first campaign at Pompey.

‘Without our fans behind us we would have really struggled.

‘Without our fans behind us, our loan signings coming in and the boys who were already here keeping their heads when all around them was chaos, we would have been in trouble.

‘We could have had mayhem and chaos playing up front for us but we wouldn’t haven been allowed them as loan signings!

‘It’s down to their parent clubs, really, whether the loans come back again.

‘Sometimes when you get loanees who come and do well for you, depending on what state they are at their present clubs regarding contract status, we may not be able to get them back on loan again.

‘There are a couple we’ve had in the last year of their contracts.

‘No-one is going to loan a player until they become a free transfer.

‘No-one is going to want to get mugged off with that.’

From even before the outset of the campaign, when Pompey had to endure over 100 hours of travelling as they zig-zagged across North America during pre-season, the campaign has been a war of attrition for the playing staff.

It is that adversity which has allowed a bond to build at Fratton Park, though.

Cotterill yesterday insisted in The News he is determined to keep that in place moving forward – even if just nine players are currently contracted to return at the start of July.

He feels that united front emerged early on as the players were tested by the incessant problems the club faced.

Cotterill said: ‘There hasn’t been one particular highlight for me this season.

‘The highlight has probably been over the course of the season.

‘The spirit we’ve had is hard to get when the club’s in administration and we don’t have enough players.

‘Yet, they have gone through the pain barrier for each other.

‘That’s why supporters have stayed with us. There’s been a few moments of frustration and the odd boo but I would have booed us off in those games.

‘All in all, the unity, I think on the football side has been a positive factor.

‘There’s not been any cliques, which you can quite often get in a dressing room.

‘There’s been no moaning and that’s been important.

‘It’s not only my patience but their patience has been pushed.

‘That happens when you are tired and injured and feel like you could snap.

‘It’s only when you have been fatigued, like a lot of these boys have been this season, that you find out what you’ve got.’