Help fails to arrive on day of reckoning

Steve Cotterill was left despondent yesterday
Steve Cotterill was left despondent yesterday
Paul Cook, right, and Pep Guardiola go head to head on the touchline during last night's FA Cup tie between Wigan and Manchester City

Watch: Former Pompey boss Cook and Guardiola go head to head

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It was supposed to be the day of reckoning.

And Pompey’s current regime ultimately failed to convince.

No new recruits, no fresh faces, no additional bodies, no reinforcements. Nothing.

Not for want of trying, mind you. Unquestionably attempts were made to strengthen Steve Cotterill’s squad.

The prospect of several permanent signings had been mooted by David Lampitt himself over the past fortnight.

It was to be irrefutable proof of the commitment of Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir on the footballing front.

As a result, Paul Konchesky, David Norris, Bradley Johnson and Tyrone Mears, were all targeted during a frantic end to the transfer window.

Approaches were made and bids lodged in a desperate attempt to strengthen the smallest squad in the Football League.

Yet the transfer kitty proved too small and the wage structure too prohibitive.

It meant Pompey were left empty handed as the majority of their Championship rivals gleefully wheeled and dealed.

So it’s as you were at January 1, except a few Fratton Park loan signings.

That and the departures of Matt Ritchie and John Utaka for fees totalling around £750,000.

And that is why Pompey fans at this moment in time are furious. The absence of successful transfer activity has stoked up the discontent so effectively dowsed ahead of the Leeds match.

Suddenly talks of protests have re-emerged with SOS Pompey once again leading the way.

The supporters’ action group even called for the head of Lampitt in a hard-hitting statement issued within minutes of last night’s window shutting.

There’s no getting away from the fact emotions are running high among Blues fans – all as a direct result of the club’s transfer shortcomings.

Meanwhile, Cotterill has been asked to continue working miracles with his tiny squad – a squad alarmingly exposed over the past month.

What’s more, it must now cope for the remainder of the season without any fresh additions to bolster it both physically and mentally.

And with Pompey already slipping down the table, a relegation fight is looming ever closer.

The despondency in Cotterill’s voice during his pre-match press conference yesterday afternoon revealed his thoughts on the matter.

In truth, he had little hope of receiving help in terms of reinforcements before deadline day even began.

As for his players, their morale must have also taken a hammering yesterday.

So here we are – no new players and the transfer window shut.

It’s going to continue to be a long, hard season.