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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Pompey pair hope for all clear

When both Hermann Hreidarsson and John Utaka had to be taken off yesterday you could not help but fear the worse for them, especially with next weekends semi final coming upů however the pair both believe that they will be fit for the showpiece event.

Hreidarsson received a gash around the Achilles area, which was a major concern - his beating the ground in anger told its own story at the time - as damage to this would have almost certainly ruled him out, but according to the Icelandic hard man it was nothing and he remains desperate to play at Wembley next weekend.

He might be a natural central defender, and as such you do quite often notice him drifting into the middle sometimes leaving the left hand side exposed but he has grown into a good left back for us this season getting up and down the pitch, also giving that extra cover to the middle so my thinking is that we do need him next weekend, granted we 'could' cope without him but I would rather be with, than without him to be honest.

On a day when he had one of his better games for some time Utaka was forced off when he felt a slight problem with his hamstring, so rather than take any undue risks he came off - mainly as a precautionary measure.

As said Utaka had one of his better games, so depending on what system we go with he could have a major impact from the start, or the bench if fit - so long as he puts in the effort we saw yesterday - even more so on the wide open area of Wembley, where his pace could be a huge asset, so again having him available to the squad is certainly preferable than not.

Another man that might have more of a role to play than we might have expected could be Dave Nugent. He came on for 25 minutes or so yesterday to great success for me. He looked sharper, quicker and more intelligent with his use of the ball. His movement, which I have always thought top class seemed spot on too. Seeing him take on and out pace his man several times pleased me.

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday March 30 2008

Time: 9:06AM

Your Comments

nugent looked good when he came on
pompeysno.9
We need all the options we can get. We may start 4-5-1 & then go 4-4-2. We need pace & power & skill. We have all that. A bit of luck may help & someone to score. Maybe we can Defoe on the rack & pretend he is Kanu. Whatever next week is the most important must win since Wigan away a few years ago.
storagematt
It's got to be Kanu & Baros up front with Nugent replacing Kanu if he doesn't have much effect. I'd play 4 across the middle - Kranjcar, Muntari, Diarra and Utaka. As pompeysno.9 said the extra space should suit Utaka and let's be honest their defence is hardly of the same quality as we play week in week out, so he should be able to beat players.
stillthewhizz
I hope we go out and really take the game to them, they are conceeding goals for fun, and we could really be out of sight by half time if we play anything like we can. If we give them loads of respect like we did to Plymouth, Ipswich and Preston then we will. struggle again. I honestly think Harry will find room for Diop, and that Utaka will be on the bench at best. Nugent did ok yesterday and he obviously enjoys playing alongside Defoe.
Owenspompey
Great news about Herm & Utaka as Matt says we need all the options open to us ... As for team selection the first thing we have to do is stop them scoring so as well at the normal back four I think we'll see the strongest unit of four (Diop Diarra, Muntari & Krunchie) across the middle with Kanu & Baros up top... that won't give us much pace up front so goals will have to come from midfield .... well Kranjcar & Muntari ... If we don't score or need extra pace then we can unleash Nugent and Utaka who as STW says should relish a pitch as big as Wembley.... The chances of 'unfashionable' goalscorers grabbing the goals next week is very high... put you money on people like Herman, Distin, and dare I say it Diop ....
Chix
Well done [again] Pompey, great result when many players' minds must have been on their fitness for next week. Mendes played well, Johnson made a miraculous save and was only upstaged by a brilliant save by James for the penalty. we were playing without our 3 X 1st choice midfielders, and the stand-ins performed well. Defoe's positioning to take the 1st goal was pure instinct, with the ball deflecting all ways in the box what would make a player suddenly retreat to a position wide of the far post ?? Amazing. We will all be there next week, good luck to Harry and the lads !! JMA
pompeyjma
Chix, we will have a little wager on Diop if you want mate, i reckon he will never score for us, his finishing is really bad, i hope i am wrong but i just cant see it. Utaka will have the chance to prove he can play at Wemlbley against Fat Boy Robinson, i reckon he could be the difference.
Owenspompey
Hou by hour, day by day, reports no doubt. Not a time for any training ground **** ***.
storagematt
Everton!! how did they beat us so convincingly, they were absoulute rubbish today, and the Spurs fans reckon they want Defoe back on 606!! I am sure he will want to go back and warm the bench again.
Owenspompey
Nugent was a good yard faster yesterday, it was great to see him out-pacing the Wigan defence
paultsmouth
I don't know if I am going to be excited or downright nervous. I have trepidations like 1992 all over again, and then all of a sudden I think but that year prevented two 2nd division outfits going head to head. Maybe perhaps history will repeat itself one way or the other, no all second division final or no Pompey. I really do believe that win this game and we must be almost gathering in the holy grail. But then again I suppose Wolves thought that in 1939 !
pompeygray
i have a strange feeling diop will score a header.....
pompeysno.9
coul that be strange enough to be true...
pompeyrug
i think that diop doesnt score many goals for a different reason to distin, campbel and hreiderson. ...by which i mean, he has plenty of shots, just most of them go wide. (i dont mean to take anything away from the player, as i think that he is great at breaking up the play, and should - if we play 4-5-1 - be in the starting XI - which i also think is how we will play. no unnecessary risks...
pompeycarpet
I agree tha Diop has to play, but i would not put my money on him being the first goalscorer. It looks like Harry will have all the usual squad to choose from, i hope they are all up for the game.
Owenspompey
Owens .. I'm up for the bet that Diop will score before the season is out .. The winner buys the other a signed photo of him from Rug.. are you up for it ?.. assuming Rug has one of course ?
Chix
diop has scored some screamers in the past, and gets a few on the big stage too (world cup vs france).
jbaker
 

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