Cotterill vows to keep plugging away for transfers

Steve Cotterill is desperately trying to address Pompey's small squad
Steve Cotterill is desperately trying to address Pompey's small squad
Brett Pitman sports a bloodied nose after scoring against Fleetwood in September

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Steve Cotterill insists Pompey are doing everything they can to strengthen their paper-thin squad.

It’s just eight days before the Championship season kicks off at Middlesbrough.

As it stands, there are only 15 first-team players at the Blues boss’ disposal.

In addition, promising teenagers Ryan Williams and Lewis Stockford have been drafted into the squad for pre-season.

Cotterill does not need to be told his playing numbers are low and require bolstering.

David Lampitt is continuing to chase a number of targets, among them a striker, central midfielder and a versatile defender.

In the meantime, Pompey have been persistently linked with a procession of players, including Burnley striker Martin Paterson and Chelsea left-back Patrick van Aanholt.

Cotterill won’t discuss names himself but is adamant the club remain highly active in the transfer market.

He said: ‘We would be hopeful of people coming in, for sure, but it is a lot more difficult than it is by just signing them.

‘If you’ve got a never-ending pot of money, it is pretty easy to sign players.

‘You can sign 20 of them if that is the case.

‘If it’s not, you have got to try to do your best and spread it out around the squad. That is what we are trying to do.

‘The owners have been very good since they have come in and backed me very well.

‘You can’t be asking for something every week. They have already spent a lot of money since they came in.

‘They know the squad is light and we are trying to address that but, obviously, we are chasing time again, pretty much like we were last year.

‘Every summer this club has had a new ownership. It probably won’t have a new one next season and will be a lot better for it. We’ve got some good players but want to add to them and are still trying to do that.’

Pompey retur-ned from a 12-day tour in America today.

While their two matches both ended in draws, the trip was deemed a big success in getting the squad in good condition.

Pompey now face Real Betis tomorrow night (6.30pm) for their final pre-season friendly.

That will then provide them with a week to focus on the season opener at the Riverside Stadium.

Cotterill had been hoping for several other new faces among his squad by this stage of pre-season preparations.

And that is the one disappointment from the time he has spent in Charleston.

He added: ‘The one thing I would have liked was to have signed a player or two earlier in the tour so we could have flown them out there.

‘I suppose if there was to be a disappointment, that was the only one.

‘It’s difficult trying to get players in and it is something we have got to carry on working on.’