We have heard it all before...
...and to be honest I find it increasingly hard to believe it is possible!
How many times has John Utaka promised great things just to let us down, as he usually does?
Well he is doing it again saying that he is now fully fit after his hamstring tear, has been working doubly hard in training and is ready to be given a chance against Villa at the weekend, all if Harry Redknapp selects him, which he says he could do as he 'knows what he can do'...
John we all know what you can do, and it aint a lot mate! The most frustrating thing is we know what you 'could' do if you put your mind to it!
With doubts over Lassana Diarra, Richard Hughes and Sean Davis it is almost certain that Papa Bouba Diop will get a place in the middle of the park, which would at least remove the temptation to play him on the right if nothing else! That in turn leaves a vacancy to be filled by either Utaka or Glen Little... Right, Utaka has pace and skill to burn - when he wants to show it, but offers little work rate or effort, Little will offer that plus has skill and ability but absolutely no pace whatsoever, but will put in a main cross.
I have said it before, but will say it again - as Jerome Thomas is said to be fit again, although he might play on the left he is very right sided. He has pace, ability and can delivery a cross so why not surprise everyone and give him the chance to make the right side of midfield his own? Being right footed surely it is easier for him to play on the right - and be more effective - than it is on the left?
I have tried and tried with Utaka, but there seems to be no changing the fella - I hope that each time he says he will 'knuckle down and show the real player he is' that we will see it, but we rarely do so you cannot keep clinging to that hope he will shine through, and you stop believing it is possible. He has a couple of months to try and change people's minds, but I cannot see it happening and he will be one that I feel we will be seriously looking to offload in the New Year if we can...
Another player that is a doubt for the Villa game is Younes Kaboul. The French defender picked up a back problem captaining the French u21 side yesterday and would appear to be a doubt for the trip to Villa Park.
If he was to miss out, then with people like Hermann Hreidarsson and Noe Pamarot around I think we will be fine defensively for cover, and if nothing else it eliminates the temptation that Harry Redknapp might have of playing him out of position, in a midfield role - a midfielder the fella is not at all!
PLAY UP POMPEY!