Date:Wednesday October 1 2008
'Reports' in the media have once again 'linked' us with Jermaine Pennant over the past couple of days.
Whilst Harry Redknapp has admitted a liking for the Liverpool winger he has played these stories down with what he has told The News: 'I like Pennant. He's a good player, a great crosser of the ball and he's definitely got quality.
'But I can't say I have thought about signing him. In fact, I have not thought about anybody really, to be honest.
'The transfer window has just closed and the next one isn't open until January, other signings are not really in my thoughts this early.
'As far as I'm concerned, I have got my squad here, players I'm happy with.
'I just need to get on with it now. It's like any transfer, I'll see how we are going closer to the time and if we need something.
'You never know, you may get an injury in a certain position, something might need freshening up.
'I've got to see if everything is going okay. If everybody is doing well it's not a problem and I won't need to bring in anyone at all.
'But at the moment I'm not even thinking about that.'
I think it goes without saying that Redknapp would like to strengthen his squad in January, as despite what he has said he has been quite open with his 'I would like more players in my squad' thoughts, and Pennant probably is a player he would like to bring in - but January is a long way off yet, besides he would cost money and we do not have much of this do we...
To be honest I do not rate the fella - and have been pretty open in this - but maybe regular football could see the best brought out in him? As I say January is a long way off yet - so lets use the famous 'lets wait and see' line!
Our midfield crisis seems to be easing a bit, and Harry Redknapp is left with a slight decision to make for the game with Vitoria tomorrow... does he bring back Sean Davis - who is fit again - and drop Richard Hughes or keep it as it is, or maybe he plays both?
This is a situation he is pondering, as he told The News: 'I'm weighing it all up at the moment. It's a bit of a dilemma.
'Sean's looking okay but we have got to be careful with him. He's only just come back from a groin tear. You don't want it to happen again.
'He's got to be looked after right. You don't want him to rip it completely so he is out for months.
'Then again, we need Sean back. We need everyone we can, so we will have to wait and see how he gets on in the build-up.
'Hughesie has come in and done excellent, though.'
Hughes always does a job when he is asked to do it and has rightly been given praise. He is something of an unsung hero: 'Whenever he plays he never lets you down.
'When you think he has not really trained after being injured since the start of the season, it's a fantastic effort, it really is.
'I remember when I bought him from Bournemouth six years ago for a combined £75,000 with Eddie Howe.
'That was value for money for sure.
'He understands the game and that's one of his biggest assets. It may sound a silly thing to say but he understands football.
'He senses danger and knows what he is doing. He can see trouble at the right time and understands how to deal with it. Hughesie's got a great footballing brain.
'It's a decision that needs to be made but it's going to be a tough one.'
The fella has shown that he can go weeks or even months without playing, but when called upon will always do a job. He is a no frills footballer who knows his role and does this without trying anything fancy. That is why he is a footballer I would always want in my squad as opposed to the squad we face!
I would stick with Hughes and Lassana Diarra in the middle of the park to be honest, as with Davis just returning from injury it could be too risky throwing him in too soon...
Diarra misses out against Stoke at the weekend through suspension, so if we bring back Davis too soon he could well have a relapse and also miss that game - and others! Although if we go 3-5-2 all 3 could feature, and we cannot rule out Arnold Mvuemba either of course. So we do have options returning in the midfield.
Another reason to pick Hughes if you ask me is that he will give that extra shield to the defence to help protect our 2-0 aggregate lead, and also allows Diarra off the leash to build on it - not that I am saying that Davis would not do this as well of course, as he would but he will defend, and pretty much defend alone.
At least Redknapp has a few options, so he cannot bemoan that...
Whatever though I just cannot wait to get cracking, I fly out first thing tomorrow and I cannot wait - luckily, or unluckily for you this is probably the last you will hear from me until sometime Friday, maybe even Saturday as a result!
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Date:Wednesday October 1 2008
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