Cotterill’s relegation warning

Pompey boss Steve Cotterill has warned his side to not get complacent
Pompey boss Steve Cotterill has warned his side to not get complacent
Scott Giles  Photography by Habibur Rahman

Genius who studied in Havant is off to Oxford University with five A and A*s under his belt

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Steve Cotterill issued a stark warning and told Pompey: We’re not too good to go down.

The Blues boss saw his side snatch a last-minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Derby County at the weekend.

Despite securing a point, they are just five points above the Championship drop zone.

Fears of a second consecutive relegation are now starting to grow after Pompey’s winless run was extended to 10 games.

On paper, the Blues have a team who should be well capable of staying away from danger.

But Cotterill knows Pompey will have to prove it over the rest of the campaign to avoid the ignominy of the drop to League One.

Cotterill said: ‘We wouldn’t be that arrogant to think we’re too good to go down.

‘Bigger clubs than us have been relegated from this division, for sure.

‘I just think that we don’t deserve it for what we’ve had to do this season.

‘With what we’ve got in our dressing room, we don’t deserve it at all.

‘It’s been a very difficult season for everyone.

‘But we’ve got to make sure that we get through it together and we carry on fighting.’

After picking up only their second point of 2011 at the weekend, it’s understandable confidence within the ranks is at a low ebb ahead of Saturday’s visit to Doncaster.

But Cotterill is certain he has enough quality at his disposal, even if there is not enough depth in his squad.

He said: ‘We try to build confidence every day of the week. Confidence can take weeks or months to build and you can lose it in hours.

‘It’s what I try to do every day. I tell them what good players they are because they are good players but they just seem to have lost it a little bit at the moment.

‘It doesn’t help that other teams have been able to get a few loan players through the door in November to give them a boost. Ours came in through the door in August because we didn’t have a team.

‘But you are working with what you’ve got and we need to stick together.

‘That one win can give us a boost and get things going again.

‘We were thankful for that late goal against Derby because we would have ended up being beaten, and I don’t think we deserved that.’

Cotterill has again identified the importance of the club’s fans over the remainder of the campaign during the difficult times to come.

He said: ‘The thing I’m probably most thankful for is that the fans make up an extra man for us.

‘We’ve got a lot of good people on our side and we’re all working as hard as we can for them.’