Cotts offers clues on his top loan target

Stoke City's Ryan Shotton is a potential target for Pompey
Stoke City's Ryan Shotton is a potential target for Pompey
Brett Pitman had a great chance to hand Pompey the lead in the first half against Rotherham Picture: Joe Pepler

Knight: Pompey must improve higher up the pitch

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Steve Cotterill will be keeping a careful eye on the Premier League’s team selections this weekend as he bids to step up his bid to bring in a loan recruit.

The Blues boss has identified his number-one target to bolster his resources during the emergency loan window, which is open until November 24.

Cotterill, who admitted he is likely to be able to make just one addition because of the club’s budget, is determined to keep the player’s name under wraps for as long as possible.

But he has let slip some intriguing details that would seem to point towards Aston Villa utility man Chris Herd, with the Pompey manager believing the signing could give him cover in as many as three separate positions.

In an ideal world, Cotterill is keen to add a full-back, a midfielder and a striker to the ranks, and while the highly-rated Australian has played in both defence and midfield, he is less known for playing as a striker.

Alternatively, Cotterill could be attempting to throw other potential suitors off the scent with the information he has given.

But the Blues boss will be keeping a keen eye on the teams in the top flight this weekend to see if his target is selected for his club.

The fact that Herd is one of the few realistic targets who is in the first-team picture at his respective club – he started for Villa in their last match against Wolves – adds weight to him being a Blues target.

Asked on his chances of getting his man, Cotterill said: ‘It depends on him being dropped! So I will be looking for those team sheets from the Premier League today.

‘As it stands at the moment, we would ideally need three more players in our squad.

‘Ideally, we would need another full-back, another central midfield player – someone who offers something different to the ones we’ve already got – and we would need an out-and-out goalscorer.

‘But we wouldn’t be able to get three. There is one player that we have been after, that, believe it or not, could do all three.

‘He will have to be that jack of all trades.

‘I’m not quite sure about the natural goalscorer but he could cover all three positions. I’ve seen him do it and that is quite out of the ordinary.

‘It’s unusual to find a player like that. He’s a good, natural footballer. He’s a tough boy and scores goals.’

Another target who has been mentioned is Ryan Shotton from Stoke, who has played at the back and up front for the Potters, but he has not featured as much as a midfielder.

Cotterill could also have targeted another young talent but remains positive that if the player is allowed out on loan, Pompey will get him.

He said: ‘At the moment, he is back in his Premier League team, which is making it difficult. It has to stay private between myself and the other manager and if and when the time comes up again, that is one we would like to explore.

‘He’s a good, young player and we’ve probably only got enough left in our budget for one more player.

‘There’s probably a lot of competition for him, but I think we are in pole position if he goes anywhere.

‘He’s done well and he was someone I was after last season as well.’