Cotterill rules out loan arrivals

Steve Cotterill
Steve Cotterill
Matt Clarke celebrates his goal at MK Dons. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Steve Cotterill has ruled out dipping into the loan market until his Pompey spending is over.

The Blues boss has targeted assembling a squad of 20 for the season ahead.

He has already signed David Norris and Jason Pearce, while Luke Varney, Peter Whittingham and Martin Paterson remain on his radar.

But with the players tomorrow returning for pre-season training, he has just 11 on the books. And that includes Tal Ben Haim.

For Cotterill, though, bringing in loans to supplement numbers is not an option at present.

Instead his priority remains raiding the transfer market.

A total of six of his squad were loans last year, with Greg Halford and Ritchie de Laet overwhelming successes.

But his focus is solely on permanent signings as his strengthening starts to gather pace.

He said: ‘We definitely need to have a squad of about 20 players.

‘Whether that’s a couple of loans tagged onto the end of it, I don’t know.

‘That depends how far we get to spread our money.

‘But I haven’t gone into the loan market at this time because there is no point, it would be the wrong way around.

‘We need permanents through the door here. If I go and get loans what happens to the permanents?

‘It’s the permanents we needed last year, it is the permanents we need now. So that is my priority.

‘If we go in and get loans now and the permanents we want arrive only to play in the same positions we will be duplicating.

‘What a waste that would be when we are going to need money for other positions.

‘Loans would be the last thing we do.’

A total of eight of Cotterill’s squad will be in attendance at their Eastleigh training base tomorrow.

They will consist of new recruits Pearce and Norris.

Also expected to be present will be Ricardo Rocha, Aaron Mokoena, Dave Kitson, Joel Ward, Hayden Mullins and Jamie Ashdown.

Liam Lawrence and Ben Haim will return on Friday, July 8 having been given extra time off.

The duo have played international football during the summer.

In addition, Kanu is away undergoing a routine heart check up in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, David Nugent and Hermann Hreidarsson have yet to pen new contracts so will be absent.

The first two days have been earmarked for fitness testing, with the squad getting together for the first time on Monday.

Cotterill added: ‘There is testing tomorrow and Saturday, then the main work will obviously start on Monday.

‘The players will be coming in for individual tests.

‘They are pencilled in at different times.

‘They are not all in together doing a test at one time.

‘They are in at different points throughout the day.’