Cotts launches Reading rallying cry

Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Pompey chairman Michael Eisner Pictures: Joe Pepler

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Steve Cotterill called on his miracle men to keep up the push for a play-off charge as they bid to deliver a dramatic campaign finale.

Pompey head to Reading tomorrow, where the Championship’s form sides collide at a sell-out Madejski Stadium.

The Blues will be roared on by a 4,000-strong following who will make the trip up the M3 for the showdown.

Pompey will bid to make it eight wins from 10 games against a Royals side who have not lost in their past seven matches.

Success would inject hurtling impetus into the efforts of Cotterill’s men to make the top six.

Cotterill wants to see his men find more of the gutsy resolve they have shown for much of the campaign as the season reaches fever pitch.

He said: ‘It’s been an unbelievable effort from the players to get to where we are. They’ve been nothing short of miraculous this season.

‘I think it’s a good game to look forward to and we want to go up there and do well.

‘It’s a big game for the football club, a big game for a few of our lads – with Jamie Ashdown, Dave Kitson, Greg Halford and Ibrahima Sonko playing against their old club – so we’re looking forward to it.

‘After the break, we might just be better off with an away game.

‘I suppose we won’t know until we see the performance and the result.

‘I’ve told the players many times that you don’t know how tough and durable you are until you have to reach right down in yourself to find it.

‘I think we have done that for most of the season.

‘We have had to do some reaching at some tough times.

‘All credit to every single one of them, and I would include our fans in that as well.

‘They always influence us. If there’s a sell-out you will still hear our 4,000 fans there.

‘We want another Leicester. It’s the same size game as that. That was a big game for us.

‘It will be tough but everybody is fit and raring to go.’

Pompey’s training ground has been an upbeat place to be this week after Cotterill ‘shut down’ the club and handed his men time to recuperate in the international break.

Cotterill has noticed a buzz about their Eastleigh base heading into the game and sensed a hunger about his men.

He said: ‘We’ve been able to rest and recuperate for a week.

‘That was last week and this week we’ve been back to normal.

‘They’ve been good, very good, in training this week, and there is a spring in their step.

‘We won’t know until 5pm tomorrow how big that spring is but they’ve been very good in training this week.

‘Bear in mind, we are now 30-odd games down the line.

‘They’ve played on with knocks and we haven’t been able to change the team much this season.

‘So it’s all credit to them we are in the position we’re in.

‘It’s amazing that we’re talking about whether we can make it into the play-offs.

‘But it’s a big month for us and you never know what we could do.’