Cotterill wants to be spoilt for skippers

Liam Lawrence remains Pompey's first-choice captain
Liam Lawrence remains Pompey's first-choice captain
Conor Chaplin and Brett Pitman. Picture: Shaun Boggust

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Liam Lawrence remains Pompey’s undisputed skipper.

But Steve Cotterill believes his side requires plenty more captains if they are to reach the Championship heights he craves.

The Blues boss is eager to introduce more leadership into his starting XI for the campaign ahead.

It is a characteristic which has partly influenced his recruitment policy this summer.

New signing David Norris captained the side in the injured Lawrence’s absence for their opening two friendlies against the Hawks and Chelsea.

It’s a role the 29-year-old has plenty of experience in, having led Ipswich last season.

Another summer recruit, Jason Pearce, was Bournemouth captain for several years before his return to Fratton Park.

They are not the only ones in the Blues’ squad to have held such responsibility.

Last season, the likes of Hermann Hreidarsson, Dave Kitson and Aaron Mokoena skippered Pompey on occasions.

Now Lawrence is fit again following a calf injury, he once again finds himself as Cotterill’s favoured captain.

Yet Pompey’s manager is after plenty more leadership qualities from the remainder of his squad.

He said: ‘I believe nine out of 10 captains have been captains for a reason.

‘They are excellent professionals and have great dedication in the way they look after themselves.

‘When I was in charge at Cheltenham, when selecting players in certain positions, we ended up having eight players out of 11 who were captains.

‘That has been something I have looked at probably throughout my managerial career.

‘Not everybody is going to be a captain, but a lot of them can show captaincy or leadership skills.

‘When recruiting players, I’m not looking at captaincy potential or whether they have been one in the past.

‘I just want to know they have been captain for the right reasons.

‘If you can get good lads in with good leadership skills, they are not only strong physically but strong mentally as well.

‘There were not enough of them last year, not enough.

‘It’s not a big issue but something I like to do. Some people might not be bothered about it but if you can do that I think it helps.

‘But, of course, you can’t have everyone who is going to be a captain.’

Lawrence is unquestionably Cotterill’s most natural captain.

Popular in the dressing room and an automatic choice on the team sheet, his leadership skills shine through both on and off the pitch.

Such is his close relationship with the Blues boss, the pair hold regular discussions on transfer targets.

Now the likes of Norris and Pearce have landed at Fratton Park.

Norris has settled in effortlessly, a fact demonstrated by the decision to award him the captaincy in the absence of Lawrence earlier in pre-season.

The goal-scoring midfielder impressed Cotterill in the role handed to him albeit temporarily.

And his manager admitted Norris’ leadership ability has been a crucial fresh ingredient to his side.

Cotterill added: ‘I just like the way Chuck (Norris) carries himself. He has been captain of a really good club like Ipswich. That takes some doing.

‘He leads by example, he talks, understands the game and I’m convinced he will be a crowd favourite, if he is not already.

‘That will only carry on. We won’t get anything less out of him, as I think will be the case with Luke Varney.

‘But it’s a bit more difficult getting a captain who plays left wing.’