The Blues boss steered his side to a much-needed win over Blackpool at the weekend as Erik Huseklepp’s last-gasp volley secured the points in dramatic style.
A second straight win against Darren Ferguson’s men at Fratton Park this evening could propel Pompey up the table from 14th spot and right back into the play-off chasing pack.
And Cotterill believes the table is a big motivational tool for the players.
He said: ‘We need to be on our mettle but if we can get a win and a few results go for us, we could end up somewhere like ninth in the table.
‘So there is a fantastic carrot for the boys. But I’ve spoken to them and told them that we mustn’t take our foot off the pedal now.
‘It was a big game for us on Saturday against Blackpool. There was a lot of energy and emotion used and we’ve got to heed that.
‘This will be just as difficult a game for us and we mustn’t be taking this one lightly.’
Cotterill insists his team enjoyed a collective boost of confidence from their victory over Blackpool and admits it has put an extra spring in the step of everyone around the training ground.
He said: ‘We don’t get too high when we win and we don’t get too down when we lose because we try to get that happy medium.
‘But it’s nice to get that win because it has given us that extra buzz.
‘We’re keeping pretty level-headed. We’re pleased with the result at the weekend but it’s on to the next game now.’