Date:Monday November 5 2007
I had feared this moment coming, but the closer the African nations got the more I had worried Harry Redknapp might start looking to this, maybe not for excuses but a way of lowering expectation levels?
And, although a little sooner than I expected the 'African nations could ruin our season' speech reared its ugly head after the Newcastle win.
I have nothing but respect for Redknapp, I have not agreed with some of his transfer dealings in and out of the club this season but he has been more than proved right with what he has done, so my thinking has changed on this score, he has a vision I can now accept this and realise sacrifices will be made, but in terms of the bigger picture it will make a lot of sense.
But I am not going to accept this 'African nations ruining our season talk', sorry fellas but I just will not stand for it and said I would not right back when he continued signing African players - at the end of the day he signs these players knowing full well they will be heading off for the African nations so I will not be having this...
Yep, it will drain us badly but we have a squad of players for them to be used that is why it is called a squad. It will test us but with all due respect to the sides we face in January - Reading (a), Sunderland (a), Derby (h), United (a) - things could be worse.
Even in February things are not too bad - Chelsea (h), Bolton (a), Sunderland (h) so providing those that come from within the squad already step up to the plate, and others that are signed - which will happen - click okay we will be fine.
John Utaka, Kanu, Sulley Muntari and Djimi Traore are all nailed on to go, but even though Papa Bouba Diop will probably go his recent 'snub' on Senegal might go against him?
Whatever happens though you have a squad of players to account for such things as injuries, suspensions and/or the African nations, we feel we have a quality squad, the best squad we have ever known here so January and a bit of February perhaps will be the time for this to be proved, we have players to come in and will also sign others so we will be fine.
Let us not forget that plenty of other clubs will be in the same position as us, maybe not with so many players going but they will be key players in their first team.
Expectation levels are rising with Pompey - no matter how much we try to hide it - so maybe to try and cool this Redknapp is playing this card early, but I just hope he does not play it too often as my patience will soon wear thin with that one, which has probably been made clear by what I have said here...
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Date:Monday November 5 2007
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