Writer: Dan Brett
Date:Friday April 9 2010
It's potentially one of the biggest stages for any professional sportsperson, so Portsmouth will be looking for a team of heroes as they take on Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday at Wembley.
The match sees Pompey tied with their former manager Harry Redknapp, as well as a host of familiar faces including Jermain Defoe, Niko Kranjcar and Peter Crouch. For many, the chance to get one over on Redknapp is a tantalising prospect in itself, but the chance to do it on such a stage, with countries from around the globe watching, is a chance not to miss.
Highly-rated, former Fratton favourite Younes Kaboul would also have been likely to feature against Avram Grant's side had he not been cup-tied, telling reporters just two weeks ago that he didn't want to leave the South-Coast outfit, claiming that the decision was made purely for the financial future of Portsmouth Football Club.
As for Pompey, they'll be sweating on the fitness of Tommy Smith, David James, Nadir Belhadj and Marc Wilson for the tie, just some of the names currently on an ever-increasing injury list. A technicality in Aruna Dindane's contract could also mean he's given the chance to represent Portsmouth, a boost to Grant who could be struggling to name 16 players in his squad on the day.
The re-emergence of Kevin-Prince Boateng has left a lot to be desired, having come back earlier this week, suspiciously just in time for that date at Wembley. Having released statements damning the efforts of not only the club's medical staff, but also the manager leaves a lot to be seen for me, so hopefully he'll be told to quietly fly back to Germany before the game, hopefully never to return to the club.
Whether he's given the chance to play in the match remains to be seen, and I for one hope he doesn't. I can't see how a player can go AWOL for such a length of time, releasing derogatory statements against his club while they're still paying his wages (he says very loosely), yet expect to be put straight back into the side for a match billed as a 'season defining' one.
Of course, all fans will have their own take on the situation, but I have every faith in Avram Grant to make the right choice, for the player, the club and the fans'.
Pompey will be walking out at Wembley in a one-off kit, manufactured by Kappa, who signed a five-year deal with the club yesterday. They kit will only be worn potentially twice, should the club defeat Spurs on Sunday.
I'll keep it short this week.
Date:Friday April 9 2010
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