Cotts: Cherries' season is already a success
STEVE Cotterill believes the plight of Notts County is a measure of Cherries' progress this season and is backing Lee Bradbury and Steve Fletcher to blossom in management. Cotterill, who was crowned player of the year at Dean Court in 1994, guided the Magpies to the League Two title last season before leaving to join Portsmouth in the summer. County host Cherries tomorrow bidding to halt a club record run of eight successive defeats, while Bradbury's men head to Meadow Lane looking to end a seven-match winless sequence. And the two clubs need the points for very different reasons, with County marooned in the relegation zone and Cherries eager to revive their promotion push by regaining a place in the top six. Cotterill, who scored 15 goals in 45 games for Cherries before a serious knee injury ended his playing career, told the Daily Echo: Since Bradders and Fletch have gone in, they have done an unbelievable job. Whatever happens, this season should be looked upon as a great success. It has been tremendous for them to be challenging for promotion for a second year running. They have had some very awkward games recently and have come up against teams battling to stay in the division. This game has an awful habit of kicking you in the teeth. They have had some important players missing. It is a real credit to the management that they have taken it this far. They are young guys who will prove themselves to be good in the job. They are also top guys, they know the game and will have the full respect of the dressing room. When you get lows, you have to retain your belief. They have to look at how far they have come and how far they can go. Portsmouth are my main focus but it would be fantastic to see Bournemouth win promotion and for Notts County to stay up. The team I had there last season would have comfortably got them to mid-table. Cotterill started his reign at Fratton Park with an identical record to the one that has seen Cherries drop out of the top six. Coupled with only two points from seven games, Rochdale's midweek win over Southampton saw the third club promoted from League Two depose Cherries in a play-off place. Asked whether stepping into Eddie Howe's shoes had left Bradbury in a no-win situation, Cotterill replied: It is always difficult following someone when they have had a promotion because the previous manager had a lot of success in League Two. I don't think there is anything more Bradders and Fletch could have done and who is to say they wouldn't have had a blip under the previous manager. It has come at a bad time but there are still a lot of points to play for. With 41 games gone, they are one point shy of the play-offs. People in the game will tell you Bradders and Fletch have done a magnificent job to keep it going. I hope they go up.
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