Cotterill wants loan double

League One round-up: Shrewsbury regain top spot

Steve Cotterill is eyeing two new loan signings next month.

The Blues boss, pictured above, is unsure whether he will be able to buy any players as he looks to strengthen his paper-thin squad.

But he is hopeful of dipping into the loan market when the transfer window re-opens.

With Liam Lawrence's emergency loan becoming permanent on January 1, Cotterill has added room for manoeuvre on that front.

A central midfielder remains a priority.

However, Pompey may have to look at securing two on loan if the contract situation with Michael Brown and Richard Hughes continues to drag on.

Regardless, Cotterill is desperate to bolster his thread-bare squad.

He said: 'We need to try to strengthen what we have because we have got this far and want to carry on doing well.

'I just need some help with that. Ideally, if I had a Championship squad of 20 I would not mind at all.

'At the moment, I would like to get a couple of loans in, so that is what I am looking at next month.

'Once Liam is registered, that means we can have two potential loans.

'It's actually about where we use the loans at the moment.

'I don't know the position yet. We might want to strengthen the centre of midfield, for instance.

'I'd like a central midfielder really with one of the loans.

'But if we lose Mich-ael Brown and Richard Hughes then we'll need to strengthen that area with two.

'It's about being reactive to the situation.

'The trouble is, I alw-ays like to be pro active.'

Potentially, next month could also see several players depart Fratton Park.

Brown and Hughes may be forced to leave the club if their contracts are not renegotiated.

At present, the midfield pair remain on Premier League wages and the club cannot afford to give contract extensions at such levels.

Meanwhile, fans fear the rejuvenated duo of John Utaka and David Nugent could head through the exit door.

The pair are out of contract in the summer and the Pompey hierarchy may decide to cash in on them while they can.

Cotterill is well aware of such consequences, yet is retaining a positive state of mind.

He added: 'We can ill-afford anybody leaving.

'Every time we have been looking to kick on something has stopped us, whether it has been a shuffling of players, a suspension or a game off.

'You have got to keep yourself going during all these setbacks.

'It's easy to keep going forwards in this game.

'The art is to go forward when you get the knocks.

'We have managed to do that so far and we want to carry on doing well.'