Date: 29th June 2010 at 2:33pm
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The build-up to the new season, can you believe it, begins this week when the players – well some of them – return for pre-season training, this kicks-off on Thursday.

Those that have played at the world cup will get another week off, although how many of them actually return is open to interpretation? Another, Kevin-Prince Boateng is still in South Africa with Ghana, although injury might bring an end to his involvement? Not that he will return to Fratton anyway, as a move to Lazio or Genoa is being discussed.

One of those that WILL be returning this week is Michael Brown and he is a player that Steve Cotterill is looking to build a midfield around, as he told The News: ‘Michael Brown is one of those players that, when he is against you, you just wish he was not playing.

‘He can be an absolute nuisance.

‘But when he’s on your side he’s the type of person you appreciate having at your football club. You definitely want him in your side.

‘Michael is a really good lad and also a good footballer, and it would be a bonus that he wants to stay.’

Brown, who still has a year left on his contract, was ‘likened’ to Paul Dickov in as much as he is one of those players that you want in your side and not against you – so, Cotterill wants him around next season: ‘when he’s against your team you do not want him around. When he’s on your team it’s fantastic and you couldn’t be happier.

‘Michael had a big role in this club getting to the FA Cup final last year and I’d love to have him around for this season.’

As I have said before, but will again, I did not want Brown to come back but soon decided that I was more than happy that he had and had him right up there as a contender to pick up the player of the year award last season in all honesty.

Commitment, dedication, passion and desire are traits that I love in a footballer and the 33-year-old has all of these – and to be fair in not a bad footballer either!

Previously I had said that I would like to keep Brown and build that midfield around him, those thoughts for me have not changed, so hopefully neither has his mind as he said he wanted to stay at the end of last season…

In an ideal world Brown would be kept with Marc Wilson then playing alongside, or better still slightly behind in that defensive midfield role, although Wilson is a ‘sellable asset’ so we do not know if we could keep him, whereas Browny is the more ‘realistic’ of the pair that would be kept.

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