Claridge backs Cotterill to follow Canaries’ lead

Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Pompey fans will travel en masse to Bury this weekend

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Steve Cotterill has to be given the chance to create his Pompey empire.

And the Blues boss has been told to follow the ‘Paul Lambert blueprint’ as he waits to begin rebuilding his squad.

Former Fratton favourite Steve Claridge reckons Cotterill has to be backed by the club’s new owners.

But he insisted it will not take a huge transfer war chest for the manager to deliver the squad he wants.

Claridge revealed he has spoken to Cotterill about his plans and the 46-year-old is not expecting a mega-money spending spree.

The BBC pundit believes the Blues boss can still deliver a side to challenge in the Championship next season, though.

Claridge said: ‘If you give a good manager a chance, you will be competitive in the Championship. Steve now needs to be given a chance to get the players he wants and see what happens from there.

‘He needs to be able to go for the players he wants, within reason.

‘I spoke to him recently and he knows he isn’t going to get £20m to spend.

‘There will be two or three players he really wants. The others will be “if I get them I get them, if I don’t I don’t”.

‘There will be three or four he will want to push the boat out a bit for. He’ll mix and match with the others.

‘You have to have knowledge of the lower divisions and know what it takes to be successful.

‘I don’t think expectations will be too high. There has to be some latitude but that doesn’t have to mean you have to spend £20m. You can have a war chest of three or four million and if you use it properly you will have a chance.

‘You will be competitive if it’s done right.’

Claridge pinpointed the success of Norwich, who earned promotion on a moderate budget, as the way forward for Pompey.

He believes Lambert did his homework on signings in much the same way in which Cotterill has. Now he needs the backing to make good on the deals he has in mind.

Claridge said: ‘I looked at Paul Lambert and what he’s done. That has be the blueprint.

‘I look at Sven at Leicester and I don’t think he’s signed a player under 40k a week!

‘But Paul made a signing and it screamed to me he has got out there and done the miles.

‘They are players you know can go and do a job – the Andrew Surmans playing on the left of a diamond, Wes Hoolahans, Grant Holts and Simeon Jacksons. It’s about seeing them.

‘It’s like seeing a half-built house but picturing it being finished.

‘These players are unfulfilled potential but you have to see that potential and bring the best out of them.

‘Norwich spent money as well. They bought a £1.2m player and there are players he’s spent on but they did it the right way.-