Cotterill gets set for owner talks

Portsmouth manager Steve Cotterill during the npower Championship match at Fratton Park, Portsmouth.
Portsmouth manager Steve Cotterill during the npower Championship match at Fratton Park, Portsmouth.
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Pompey’s future will begin being shaped next week.

Manager Steve Cotterill is set to sit down with the club’s new owners and plan the way forward for his men for the 2011-12 Championship campaign.

The News understands work on player recruitment and bringing in targets is likely to begin accelerating on Monday and Tuesday.

That’s when the Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) group are due to speak publicly for the first time since assuming control of the Blues.

Vladimir Antonov, Roman Dubov and Chris Akers are scheduled to sit down with the press and lay down their blueprint for how they want to take the club forward.

Dubov is today conducting the first official duties since CSI took control of the club from Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir.

Alongside chief executive David Lampitt and finance director John Redgate, he is representing the Blues at the Football League AGM in Paphos, Cyprus.

But while they are set to vote on whether to introduce a financial fair play system – restricting clubs to spending only cash they generate themselves – Pompey fans are eager to hear CSI’s plans for rebuilding their club.

And most pressing is the need to begin shaping Pompey’s ridiculously threadbare squad.

The Blues are due to return for pre-season training in just over three weeks but have just eight players to call upon at present.

And, as it stands, Cotterill is still waiting to hear from the new regime.

He had nothing more than a brief conversation with them last week, after they became the club’s fifth owners in under two years with their £15m buyout.

The 46-year-old is at the heart of the owners’ plans, though, as they look for continuity.

But while David Norris’ switch is a done deal – he simply needs to be registered with the football authorities – Pompey have already lost out on one target in Gareth McAuley.

And they can’t afford to let any more slip through their hands, even if the Pompey takeover is now making them a more attractive proposition.

Reading’s Brian Howard has issued a come-and-get-me-plea to Cotterill.

The highly sought-after midfielder is to get away from the Madejski after finding first-team football opportunities increasingly difficult to come by. However, it is understood there are players above him in Cotterill’s wish list.

Talks are also continuing on bringing back some of last season’s loanees.

Those efforts are focusing on Greg Halford at present, who has stated he is ready to link up with the club he made 33 appearances for after arriving from Wolves last October.

All Pompey deals still have to be agreed within the financial plan laid down by the Football League, though, after the club exited administration.

The Blues would have to submit a new financial plan if they were to deviate from that agreement.