Summer recruitment on Cotterill’s mind

Saturday, 5 March 2011'Npower Championship'Portsmouth v Sheff Utd, 15:00
Saturday, 5 March 2011'Npower Championship'Portsmouth v Sheff Utd, 15:00
Joe Dandy. Picture Ian Hargreave

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Steve Cotterill has targeted a powerful finale to the season as he looks to strengthen his summer recruitment drive.

The Pompey boss is already looking towards the close season and is preparing to make moves to bring in a host of new faces.

The Blues have a whopping 19 players out of contract at the end of the current campaign, with Cotterill facing another huge rebuilding job after last summer’s problems.

Despite Tuesday’s defeat at the hands of Bristol City, Cotterill admitted his team’s flying form of late has made that job easier, with targets keen to join an upwardly-mobile outfit.

Pompey still have an outside chance of making the Championship play-offs with a good run in the final 10 games of the campaign.

And Cotterill knows a strong run-in will aid his bid to convince players to stay and bring in fresh new blood.

He said: ‘It will be interesting to build a fourth team in 12 months.

‘It’s all about getting it right.

‘Even if you bring a lot of other players in, it can take time for them to gel again. It doesn’t happen overnight.

‘But we’ve got to wait and see who fancies it and who comes.

‘Probably, the better we do, the easier it is to attract players who think you are ambitious and want to go forward, rather than if you are languishing at the bottom.

‘That has definitely had a bit of a bearing lately on a few people’s thoughts.

‘You can’t do too much at this moment in time. You can only talk.

‘You’ve got to hope that the conversations you are having will end up being positive.

‘We haven’t got that many who can play us off against other teams.

‘Obviously, lads will need time but if you know they want to stay you enter negotiations.’

Cotterill’s player turnaround will be enforced in part by the swathe of loan players currently at Fratton Park.

The 46-year-old wants to avoid a repeat of the number of temporary men present at the club in the next campaign.

He said: ‘I want my own players.

‘The players we have now and the run we’re on is helped and aided by other clubs.

‘I wouldn’t want to be in the same situation next season.

‘When half the team are loans, what happens if you get injuries and suspensions? There’s nowhere to turn.

‘Loans are what loans are.

‘We’ve used our emergency loans throughout the season.

‘That’s not ideal and we can’t have that situation again.

‘We need to have more permanent players at our club.

‘It’s got to change. We can’t have another season like this one.’