Blues need more men to succeed in Championship

Burnley hitman Martin Paterson would be a good signing
Burnley hitman Martin Paterson would be a good signing
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Pompey’s squad is way too thin to be talking of promotion back to the Premier League – or even the play-offs.

Unless three new signings arrive before the end of August, manager Steve Cotterill will again be operating with one arm tied behind his back.

But let’s look on the bright side and say deals will be done.

If Pompey have really offered the reported £2.3m for Burnley striker Martin Paterson, I would be surprised if that was not enough to secure his signature.

At his best, Paterson is a sharp fox in the box who could provide the 15-20 league goals every team wants from their top forward.

But this transfer has been talked about for weeks without it going through – and that is a worry.

Cotterill also needs another quality full-back and a creative catalyst type in midfield.

I think it would be a mistake to play defender Joel Ward in that department unless in an emergency.

Even then, in an ideal world, more additions would be required to cover injuries and suspensions in the arduous 46-game marathon which begins at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

But, with the likes of Liam Lawrence, Greg Halford, Ricardo Rocha, Dave Kitson, David Norris and keeper Jamie Ashdown, Pompey have enough quality to, at least, stay clear of trouble.

Optimism must be tempered by the fact that this is a tough jungle in which all but six of the clubs are ex-members of the Premier League looking to get back.

West Ham are my idea of likely title-winners.

New boss Sam Allardyce will convert them into a gritty outfit, aided by a top signing in Kevin Nolan from Newcastle and enough talent elsewhere to get results.

Leicester, with a big budget for Sven-Goran Eriksson, are expected to put in a bold showing but none of their signings look that frightening and they may struggle to impose themselves in the way many think.

Neither do I fancy Birmingham to bounce back.

They have run out of cash and sold too many.

Blackpool have lost their inspiration Charlie Adam to Liverpool and DJ Campbell is probably on his way to QPR but I reckon they will be in the shake up.

Then there are teams like Leeds and Steve McClaren’s Nottingham Forest, who are strongish but might again fall just short.

Promoted Saints and Brighton will give Pompey some tasty derbies and I can see both those promoted clubs making a decent impression.

Reading, Cardiff and Ipswich are other possible contenders, while Middlesbrough, who will play slick football under Tony Mowbray, might be dark horses.

A top-half finish for Pompey would be a good stepping stone and anything more a bonus. Hopefully, they can strengthen and surprise.

But remember this is a league which often defies prediction.

Who would have guessed a year ago that QPR and Norwich would take the two automatic promotion spots?

The key is to be tough and consistent with a dash of match-winning flair.