Cotterill reluctant to talk further about Norris

JUST because they’ve gone 324 minutes without conceding a goal, Portsmouth manager Steve Cotterill says that his current back four are not the finished article yet.

Cotterill brings his Pompey side to play Ipswich Town at Portman Road for this afternoon’s Championship game (kick-off 3pm) on the back of a 2-0 win and two 1-0 successes.

Greg Halford, Ricardo Rocha, former Town favourite Hermann Hreidarsson and Ritchie de Laet are set to be on duty again today with Cotterill insisting:

“Just because we keep three clean sheets on the bounce it doesn’t mean you can say ‘right that’s it, we’re sorted, there you go now’.

“This back four hasn’t been together the length of a pre-season. Yet everybody is dancing thinking we’ve cracked it.

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“It’s still early days and you can’t do that.

“There are always improvements you can make.

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“‘If you played this back four together in 20 games time they will be better then than they are now.”

Cotterill, who was considered as a replacement for Roy Keane before the successful appointment of Paul Jewell, replied somewhat tongue in cheek when asked about his interest in Town skipper David Norris.

“I don’t know enough about him as a player,” he replied.

“He’s injured I believe at the moment and is under contract to Ipswich so I wouldn’t want to fuel any more fires.”

Cotterill is believed to be confident of landing Norris on a free transfer in the summer after having a �250,000 bid turned down by Ipswich last month.

The Pompey boss is expecting a tough game today, and he went on: “Ipswich have been on a good run.

“They are decent at the back and also got a good young boy in Connor Wickham, and he looks like he’s got a bright future.

“Jason Scotland has also done well at this level, Carlos Edwards has done well at right-back and they’ve got Jimmy Bullard on loan, who is a good player.

“They’ve got good players all around the pitch and are a good, strong outfit.

“I always enjoy going there as Ipswich is an excellent club and the crowd is always good.”

Today’s likely squads

Ipswich Town: Fulop, Lee-Barrett, Edwards, McAuley, Delaney, Kennedy, O’Dea, Smith, Peters, Martin, Leadbitter, Bullard, Drury, Hyam, Civelli, Wickham, Scotland, Priskin, O’Connor, Norris.

Portsmouth: Ashdown, Halford, Rocha, Hreidarsson, de Laet, Ward, Mullins, Cotterill, Hogg, Kitson, Nugent, Flahavan, Dickinson, Kilbey, Makoena, Ciftci, Kanu, Sonko, Lawrence.

Referee: Mr S Mathieson (Cheshire)

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