Cotterill ready for youth revamp

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Pompey fell flat against Blackpool. Picture: Joe Pepler

Gaffer: Pompey were terrible, an absolute shambles

Steve Cotterill is preparing to make his youth vision a reality as Pompey look to revamp their set-up.

And he's toying with the prospect of making an interim appointment to head the changes.

It's the chance to rebuild the Academy following the exit of Paul Smalley before Christmas.

The director of youth operations left by mutual consent at a time when the existing structure had come under increasing fire.

On the pitch, the Blues' Academy side are bottom of the table, having picked up just four points all season.

Buoyed by the opportunity to transform the youth system, Cotterill is currently putting the finishing touches to his blueprint.

That may include an interim Academy manager to replace Smalley.

The Blues boss promises change at youth level, with an emphasis on 'boot and stopwatch' coaching.

And he's hopeful of unveiling his proposals over the next week.

Cotterill said: 'We need to have a look at how the Academy is structured and I would hope to have a good input into it.

'What we need to look at is whether we need to do something interim until the summer to give us more time.

'There is always something going on at this football club and I don't want to miss a trick with something so important.

'I get wrapped up in a lot of first-team affairs for obvious reasons, but I would like to be involved because I think I have enough management and recruitment knowledge to do a decent job with it.

'I've had a brief look at it. The only thing is this all blew up before Christmas so I've not had that much time to look at the existing structure we have got and whether we go another way.

'The changes might not be massive. It just might mean shuffling a few titles and then looking to bring people out on the grass such as coaches.

'Whether it be the Academy, the School of Excellence, whatever it is, we have got to have somebody there who is on the grass and their tools are a pair of football boots and a stopwatch as opposed to a pad and pen.

'I want coaches. I want kids brought up to know when they support the ball and where.

'I want somebody to teach them how to see small parts of the game going on over the pitch, if possible.

'An interim might help but if somebody does it in the interim period and are not quite what we want over the next few months, they have also got to be prepared not to spit their dummy out if they are told over the summer "this is what we are going to do".

'We have to look at the structure at the top such as: does the Academy manager coach the under-18s?

'Or is he a paper shuffler and we have coaches under him?

'There is plenty to discuss at the minute – it is so very important.'

Pompey's Academy take on Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup on Monday.

The original fixture was a victim of the weather back in early December.

Inevitably, the youngsters will not have a manager following Smalley's exit little over a fortnight ago.

But Cotterill does not believe it is a necessity for the appointment to be made before that clash.

He added: 'It's not about getting everything sorted for Manchester United because whoever goes in is going to be on a hiding to nothing in that game, anyway.

'Sure, they might want to take the prestige, but they are going to be on a hiding to nothing.

'It's not about them taking on a team for Manchester United, it's about what they are going to do over and beyond.

'If someone came in and won 1-0 at Manchester United, does that mean they are the answer to our Academy? No, not at all.

'It might mean Paul Smalley has done a bit of that work.

'We've got to take our time.'