Cotterill eyeing permanent deals for loan stars

Steve Cotterill
Steve Cotterill
Pompey striker Conor Chaplin struggles to hide his disappointment

Southend 3-1 Pompey: They said what?

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POMPEY want to bring several of their loan stars back to Fratton Park permanently.

But snapping up free agents remains Steve Cotterill’s top priority at present.

Cotterill has already broached those Premier League clubs in question over the possibility of thrashing out deals for players who impressed during their south coast stay this season.

Greg Halford and Ritchie de Laet were undoubtedly the star performers, while Jonathan Hogg also caught the eye.

Trio Carl Dickinson, Ibrahima Sonko and David Cotterill were the others who spent time on loan with the Blues this term.

As it stands, with the Premier League season not finishing until May 22, Cotterill believes no more progress can made on that front at present.

Instead, closing in on those out-of-contract players is Cotterill’s priority.

Currently, all recruitment is on hold until the Fratton Park takeover situation is resolved.

And Cotterill has already revealed his concern over others stealing a march on those players on frees.

He said: ‘On Monday morning I spoke to all the managers of the loan players, bar one.

‘We have intimated to a couple of clubs we would like to do something further but no more than intimated because they have still got their plates full. So that will be sometime later.

‘The Premier League season doesn’t finish yet, it is on for a couple more weeks, so we will have to wait on that one.

‘Having said that, you don’t need to focus so much on players who are in contract at the moment.

‘You can buy them at any God-given time. If you have the money, of course.

‘It is the ones who are coming up out of contract that need the extreme focus.

‘We will be back for pre-season in the first week of July and if you don’t strengthen by then you won’t be getting any free transfers, that’s for sure.’

Blues fans are still awaiting a successful outcome to Convers Sports Initiatives’ long-standing interest.

The process appears to have crawled along at times.

And that has seen the handbrake applied to Cotterill’s recruitment drive.

He remains as in the dark over the takeover as anyone.

But thankfully, it hasn’t stopped him identifying targets.

Cotterill added: ‘There have been no developments on anything regarding players coming in.

‘I’m probably in the dark about the takeover as much as anybody – I don’t know what is going on.

‘I am not privy to any conversations.

‘So you just have to get on with your job and try to do that to the best of you ability.

‘I am still talking to people about players, though, so I am around at the moment in case anything drops.’