Portsmouth Manager Steve Cotterill is hoping for a merry Christmas and, most importantly for his playing squad, a happy new year in the transfer market.

Cotterill's squad has been short on numbers since he took over at Fratton Park in the wake of Pompey's relegation to the npower Championship at the end of last season.

The club's well chronicled financial problems have prevented significant spending on players as the Manager attempts to quickly guide them back to the Premier League.

That situation may change in the January transfer window, though even then Cotterill knows he will not have huge amounts of money to spend.

The former Cheltenham Town, Stoke City, Burnley and Notts County Manager told football-league.co.uk: "There'll be a bit of scope in January, but nothing lavish.

"It will depend on whether we go for loans or permanent signings, but it would be nice if we could get at least a couple of permanent deals done.

"We need additions to the squad without anybody departing. We've got to a stage where we haven't got to sell anybody, and I'll fight to keep it that way.

"Three or four new faces would be fantastic, but even a couple of additions would give some much-needed help to a squad that's got quality but not quantity.

"We've got a great dressing room with a group of top lads and a fantastic spirit, but we do get stretched if we get injuries, suspensions or a loss of form."

Cotterill's points are illustrated by his team's roller-coaster of an opening four months of their Championship campaign.

After seven games they were bottom of the table with just two points, but seven games later they were 10th in the table and only one point off the Play-Off places.

A four-match blip followed, bringing only one point, but the last two games have been won to leave them five points below the Play-Offs with a game in hand.

"Lack of numbers in the squad is undoubtedly the main reason for the way our season has gone up to now," said Cotterill.

"When I took over we had only eight senior pros plus 10 young boys who were counted as pros but had never played a first team game.

"With a couple of players at the World Cup we started pre-season with only six senior pros, and in our early games it was very hard to get a team out let alone get a win.

"We made some good loan signings, but we also lost Mark Wilson to Stoke and Tommy Smith to QPR so the situation still wasn't great.

"Although we had a very good starting line-up and went on a great run, we couldn't afford injuries, suspensions or a loss of confidence in individual players.

"Those things happened, and when you've not got enough like-for-like replacements and have to start shifting players around positionally you can get wobbles.

"But we've come back with a couple of top drawer wins at Swansea and Norwich, and with the League so concertina'd up we're in a reasonable position.

"If we played our game in hand this week and won it we'd be only six points off the automatic promotion places, so I feel we can be optimistic about the future.

"The club's been in such a tough situation over the last 18 months to two years and it's obviously been difficult for everyone involved.

"But this is a great club with great supporters, so with consistency and a bit of luck we can hopefully get the results we're all looking for in the second half of the season."

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