Cotterill ‘staying at Pompey’

101744-07_PFC_manager'Portsmouth's new manager, Steve Cotterill, shares a joke with chief executive David Lampitt.'Pic Mick Young
101744-07_PFC_manager'Portsmouth's new manager, Steve Cotterill, shares a joke with chief executive David Lampitt.'Pic Mick Young
Dave Wright. Picture: Colin Farmery

Boss hoping Wright can bolster Pompey’s squad

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Pompey have delivered a ‘hands off’ warning over Steve Cotterill in the wake of intense talk over the manager’s future.

The Blues insist they have not received an approach from Birmingham following speculation the midlanders were keen to take Cotterill to St Andrew’s.

And chief executive David Lampitt vowed there were no plans for the 46-year-old to leave after another dramatic day at Fratton Park.

Cotterill yesterday met new owner Roman Dubov and Lampitt to lay down plans for rebuilding his squad this summer.

That followed on from a high-octane morning when reports emerged Cotterill was in the sights of Birmingham.

He was quickly made the bookies’ favourite to succeed Alex McLeish after the Scot e-mailed his resignation to the recently-relegated club on Sunday.

But Birmingham stated they had not made a bid to lure away Cotterill, who celebrates his first year at Pompey this weekend.

Lampitt echoed that position and underlined there was no intention of letting go of the man who has steered the Blues through a tumultuous period.

Lampitt said: ‘We haven’t heard anything directly from anyone about Steve.

‘It’s a good measure of what Steve has done for the club that we are getting this talk about him.

‘I see it as a form of recognition of what Steve’s done and what he’s about that there is this speculation.

‘We haven’t heard anything directly and, one thing’s for sure, we certainly aren’t contemplating losing him.

‘We haven’t been approached directly and it’s good recognition of the job that Steve’s doing – but we’re not planning on letting him go.’

Cotterill’s stock has been on the rise throughout his time at Pompey, as the football world acknowledges the progress he’s achieved in, at times, unworkable conditions.

The former Cheltenham and Burnley manager had to deal with a nightmare pre-season, transfer embargo, squad restrictions, contract disputes and the smallest squad in the Football League.

But he came through that to guide the Blues to 16th in the Championship, with the club in with a shout of making the play-offs until the final month of the campaign.

Cotterill has two years remaining on the contract he signed when arriving at the club last summer.

He was promised a new deal by former owners Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir but they failed to deliver that before selling the club to Convers Sports Initiatives earlier this month.

Dubov met Pompey’s manager once again at Fratton Park yesterday, with the Russian in town to talk about plans for the club on and off the pitch.

Those discussions were positive, with the hope the Blues can now get to work on boosting their threadbare squad in the coming days.

Cotterill has just eight players to call upon at present.