Blues boss fears missing out on trio of Pompey targets

Steve Cotterill
Steve Cotterill
Christian Burgess

Pompey fans react to Burgess decision

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Steve Cotterill fears Pompey will lose a trio of prime transfer targets if the takeover situation is not resolved soon.

The Blues boss has three free agents lined up, who are eager to come to Fratton Park at the end of the season.

Although he refuses to reveal their identities, they are likely to include long-time Ipswich captain David Norris.

In addition, there are another three players Cotterill is currently working on.

Out of contract this summer, they also would not cost Pompey a penny.

But he has been instructed no moves can be finalised until Convers Sports Initiatives’ (CSI) proposed takeover is completed.

It has left the Pompey manager as frustrated as the fans as the buy-out of joint-owners Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir drags on.

But – a month after Keith Harris revealed it would take a week for the CSI deal to be finalised – there is still no end in sight.

In the meantime, Cotterill is concerned those players who have agreed to a summer switch will lose patience.

And that could see them going elsewhere.

He said: ‘I am looking at three immediate signings and there are three others I am working on.

‘That won’t be bad, that little start of six, you could then take a deep breath.

‘But it does become of paramount importance to do this now if you want to get them on free transfers.

‘My work on squad strengthening had started – now it has stopped.

‘I haven’t missed out on any of them at the moment but it is very nip and tuck. The good thing about it is they want to come, that is the good thing.

‘Probably what they have done is come to Fratton Park at some stage, experienced what it is like and thought “this is a good football club”.

‘That will be down to our supporter base and the noise they have made wherever they have come.

‘But while we are trying to get them now, other clubs are probably trying to get them.

‘Everybody’s patience snaps after a while. We can’t keep hoping goodwill stays forever.

‘It’s of paramount importance this is sorted soon.’

And Cotterill reckons there is no need for his squad strengthening plans to be on hold. A football budget has already been set for next season – a budget the Blues boss is staying within.

He insists, regardless of who may own the club, that budget will remain in place and should be unaffected.

And with just nine players contracted for next season, he needs to sign players soon.

He added: ‘I don’t think it makes a lot of difference whoever is in charge.

‘There is a budget for the football club next season so I don’t see the difference.

‘If we don’t earmark and sign quality players who are out there now it will cost us more in the long run.

‘You don’t start paying the players anyway until July 1, so it would be counter productive to sign the players that are available this month.’