Championship: 5-Star Portsmouth on the Rise as Steve Cotterill Turns the Corner

Ryan LynchCorrespondent IIMarch 1, 2011

Steve Cotterill is proving there is fight left in Portsmouth FC
Steve Cotterill is proving there is fight left in Portsmouth FCDavid Rogers/Getty Images

Portsmouth claimed their fifth consecutive win and clean sheet tonight, as Scunthorpe United were defeated by goals from Dave Kitson and captain Aaron Mokoena.

Tonight's win has continued an unbelievable turn-around in form for the club, who last week were faced with the one year anniversary of the club entering administration—the first Premier League Club to have such a dubious honor.

The last few weeks, however, have proven that despite the financial issues that have plagued the club and the paper-thin playing squad available to manager Steve Cotterill, the team have a point to prove.

Portsmouth supporters may have had to wait nine games into the new year before claiming a win, but the current form is showing that the club have turned an important corner.

They may have had to cope with the loss of John Utaka, the unavailability of Michael Brown and Richard Hughes due to contract disputes, and a lack of signings coming in to relieve the pressure.

But as the trouble was growing and the club were edging closer and closer to a second consecutive relegation battle, something happened.

The loan signings by Cotterill have proven that the manager—and the club—have identified the right players despite the intense financial restrictions. Jonathan Hogg is proving to be reasonable replacement for the aging Brown, Ritchie de Laet and Greg Halford have been rock-solid at the back, and Dave Cotterill has added much-needed width to the squad following the departure of Utaka.

Dave Kitson, who has looked low on confidence since the beginning of the new year, has still managed to notch up two goals in the last five—and Dave Nugent has been turning in the performances to prove the doubters wrong.

But the return from injury of centre-back Ricardo Rocha and long-term injury to Hermann Hreidarsson has stopped the drip from what has been a leaky defense all season.

And what a difference it has made.

Steve Cotterill, in a pre-match interview before the match against Ipswich, stated that team-bonding and improved confidence has been the difference in the recent upturn in form.  This has been apparent, but in the end, supporters' should look no further than the manager himself.

Despite a poor preseason, speculation on liquidation, a lack of funds for players, and rarely being able to even field a full bench of substitutes, Cotterill has proven that he—and his team—are fighters.