Steve Cotterill believes he has missed out on a staggering 15 transfer targets this summer in his attempts to rebuild the Pompey squad.
The Blues boss has been backed by the club’s new owners in recruiting David Norris, Luke Varney, Greg Halford, Stephen Henderson and Jason Pearce over the summer.
And he is well aware there is not an unlimited amount of cash to spend.
But even with the recent recruitment of Christian Dailly on a short-term contract and the promotion of youngster Ryan Williams to the first-team ranks, Cotterill currently has just 17 players to choose from.
The manager had drawn up a lengthy list of possible summer targets but has revealed 15 names have now been crossed off. Martin Paterson, Aron Gunnarsson, Peter Whittingham, Jason Shackell, Ian Evatt and Matt Derbyshire are among those believed to have got away.
But Cotterill insists there are still quality targets he is keen on bringing to Fratton Park.
He said: ‘We’ve missed out on six midfielders, four strikers, three centre-backs and two left-backs – the others I’ve got.
‘I know who the players are that we want but it’s just getting them over the line.
‘There are enough of them targeted.
‘I’ve worked all summer with it so I know where I am with them.’
Even with his lack of numbers, Cotterill is not prepared to lower his sights to simply fill the squad.
He said: ‘There are a lot of players out there at the moment who are on free transfers that I could take.
‘But if they are not better than what I’ve already got, we’re not going to get better as a team.
‘I need to improve the 11 to improve the squad – that’s how I would see it.
‘I can improve the squad but if everybody is fit then what difference does it make?’
It already looks like Pompey’s quest to bring in new recruits could go all the way to deadline day at the end of the month.
But Cotterill is certain it will be nothing like the mayhem of 12 months ago when it seemed players were being hawked around without his knowledge or consent as the Blues desperately tried to slash the wage bill.
Cotterill said: ‘That was probably the worst day I have had at the football club – it was worse than Tuesday night. That’s how bad it was.
‘I don’t anticipate anything like that this year with our owners – no chance.
‘We might have players coming in but I don’t think we will ever be as active as that room was at Fratton Park last year.
‘I don’t think I have ever been as active in one day in all my life and I never want another day like that.
‘But I don’t anticipate it with these owners.’