Former Portsmouth, Burnley and Birmingham boss Steve Cotterill rejects chance to make emotional League One return

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Former Pompey boss Steve Cotterill has reportedly turned down an emotional reunion with managerless Cheltenham.

According to Gloucester Live, the 59-year-old – who guided the club to the EFL from non-league football during his time in charge – was contacted by the Robins on Thursday with the view of replacing Wade Elliott, who was sacked just 24 hours earlier.

However, it’s claimed the out-of-work Cotterill rejected the chance to return to Whaddon Road out of respect for the Elliott, whom he signed twice as a player.

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The duo have remained close since their Burnley days and have also worked together at Bristol City. Indeed, Cotterill made Elliott under-21 boss at Ashton Gate following his retirement from playing in 2015.

Cheltenham parted company with their manager with the Robins currently sitting bottom of League One with just one point from their eight games played – a pointed that was secured following a goalless draw against Pompey on August 19.

‘I am incredibly sorry to see Wadey leave and I thought he did a fantastic job last season,’ Cotterill told Gloucester Live.

‘This season, I think he’s been up against it for quite a while now and I know how hard he’s worked through a summer of upheaval.

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‘We met a couple of times for a coffee in Bristol in pre-season and I could tell he was flat out. I also think the number of injuries they’ve picked up this season is something as a manager you can’t legislate for.

Former Pompey boss Steve CotterillFormer Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Former Pompey boss Steve Cotterill

‘I’ve been to Cheltenham this season to watch games, supporting Wadey and the team and the likelihood is I’ll be there watching on Saturday supporting the team.

‘The only time I haven’t supported Cheltenham Town is when I’ve faced them as a manager and everyone would understand that.’

Cheltenham also remain on the lookout for a director of football following Micky Moore’s departure at the end of last season.

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When asked about that role, Cotterill said: ‘My passion for football has always been a big part of my life. I still have plenty of fire in me, which you need to take you through the tough times, also the coaching, tactical, recruitment, motivational skills and man management ability to carry on managing.

‘However, I also have 29 years of managerial experience where there weren’t heads of recruitment, technical directors or directors of football, which meant you had to do all of these roles as well as manage the team on a Saturday.

‘I go to at least one game every week because you need to stay current with what’s going on.

‘With regard to Cheltenham Town going forward, I am happy to advise and support the board of directors whenever called upon like I have done at regular intervals since I left.’

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Cotterill, who left Shrewsbury in June, was manager of Pompey from the summer of 2010 until October 2011. He led the Blues to 16th in the Championship in his one and only full season at PO4.

Fellow former Fratton Park bosses Danny Cowley and Leam Richardson are among the bookies’ favourites for the job.