Portsmouth - Niko Returning
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Niko Returning

Niko has been out for the past seven weeks after damaging ligaments in his right ankle, but HR is adamant that Kranjcar has a big part to play in Pompey's success this season.

'Niko is coming back, hopefully by the back end of the month, which is a big bonus for us.

'He's a top, top player in my opinion and there will always be a role for him in my team, no doubt about that.

'The lad is a cracking footballer. I just have to get him fit and then look at getting him into the team.

'Someone like Niko makes you stronger. He's an international player, a quality performer on the world stage - any manager would want him in their team.

'He can create something out of nothing, come up with a bit of magic that no-one else can.

'There are not many of him around in the Premier League at the moment, that's for sure.

'Obviously, Armand and Nadir have done fantastic down that left for us since they came to the club, but Niko can play in other positions.

'He has played a lot on the left for us but he can also go on the right - he's naturally right-footed - or he could operate behind the front two if you wanted.

'The lad gives us options but first I just want to get him fit and then see what happens.'

Kranjcar is expected to return by the end of October, just in time for a busy schedule ahead of the UEFA cup group stages and Premiership matches over the next couple of months.

Although Niko has been missed by the 'Fratton Faithful', his replacements in the form of Nadir Belhadj and Armand Traore, have been more than enough to fill his boots on the left-hand side.

The duo on loan from RC Lens and Arsenal, played a big part in Pompey's early success in the UEFA cup, so it looks like is going to have to fight hard for his place back, when returning fully to training.

Written by Pompey_7.

The views within this article are the views of the individual who wrote and submitted this piece, sometimes solely theirs. They are not necessarily shared by the Vital Pompey Site Journalists.

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The Journalist

Writer: pompeyrug Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday October 14 2008

Time: 2:21PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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niko would be ideally suited behind the strikers in a free role, so when we play 3-5-2 thats where i would play him... in a 4-4-2 he has to play on the right - him or jerome thomas for me, but niko would win in a battle between the pair of course!
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14/10/2008 14:26:00

i think it would be nice to see Niko is his preferred position in the centre alongside Diarra - that would be a pairing and a half
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14/10/2008 14:49:00

Diarra & Niko in the middle, ummm, not sure. Great to have Niko back, another great option. No doubt Sasha will want him fit for January!!!
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14/10/2008 14:59:00

diarra, niko and davis would be a fantastic trio, diarra gets up and down and can create, davis does likewise but break up the play too offering a shield to diarra whereas niko can create - in a midfeild pair i wouldnt go niko and diarra...
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14/10/2008 15:08:00

Very true Rug, we would be very short of cover when Niko was to slow to run back after loosing the ball. Behind the front 2 is the best place, or as a sub coming on to change to a 4-5-1 in winning situations. Blimey did I just say sub???
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14/10/2008 16:39:00

He might be over his injury by the end of October, but will he be match fit?. Remember he was not fully match fit when injured, this makes it even more difficult to return.
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14/10/2008 17:42:00

Don't know where he will play, either in a 3 or 5 man midfield I reckon, spare place on the right up for grabs?
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14/10/2008 18:33:00

there's definatly a place on the right up for grabs, and in 3-5-2, there's a place in the middle asking to be taken. I think the problem pretty much solves itself...
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14/10/2008 18:55:00

We'll see then Carps, also who is to say Arsenal won't call back Traore come January?
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14/10/2008 19:16:00

Having Niko back gives us extra options especially now we are allowed seven substitutes. HR would be able to completely change the shape of the side. He can play in the hole as he does for his country, on the left on in a middle three. Trouble with wide right is lack of pace but worth a try and remember he has a fantastic passing ability.
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14/10/2008 19:21:00

On the right wing.. yep I can see that.. although never seen it. In the hole.. Yep I can see that but that gives us a 4-3-1-2 formation and makes us very narrow and Crouchy somewhat lacking service... On the left yep we all know what he can do when he feels like it and is fit which let's face it isn't very often... but in the middle of a three central midfielder formation... No please..he ain't strong enough, fit enough or comitted enough for me.... 8million is it Mr Wenger.. Done... let's shake on it !
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14/10/2008 19:45:00

If we had to sell a 'star' player & I hope we don't, rather we let Niko go than Diarra or Defoe.
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14/10/2008 19:53:00

8m and armand traore and i would say deal, otherwise no deal...
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14/10/2008 19:55:00

Definitely would like to see him playing where he plays for Croatia, and with our new left-sided finds, you would think that could (and should) happen. I'd like to see Diop get back into the team to take Davis' place though. Controversial, I'm sure, but Diop has really come on a lot this season. He hasn't been shooting his mouth of about it all the time like some people Utaka but he's really been giving 110% this year, and I think Diop, Diarra and Kranjcar in midfield would be great to watch.
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14/10/2008 20:09:00

Hope he's back soon, but agree it may be a while before he's match fit. I think he would fit best on the right, interesting to see Arry suggesting other positions. I love reading interviews with Arry, you can here him saying the words, like 'thats for sure'.
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14/10/2008 20:36:00

I probably agree - I would rather diop in a midfield alongside diara and kranjcar - although mostly as I think he offers more cover for the defence, but isnt quite such a consitent passer. Hughes may be another option, as he has also come on leaps and bounds this year ! (and last year... and the year before... and ...)
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14/10/2008 22:28:00

when niko comes back i think we'll see alot more of the 3-5-2 formation...
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14/10/2008 23:15:00

Welcome Back Nico, always a place in the team for a man with your class. He can play on the left or the right, wide or behind the front two. The end of the month cant come quick enough, but i hope he is fully fit and not rushed back.
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15/10/2008 19:16:00

So that'll be James, Distin, Kaboul, Campbell - Johnson, Davis/Diop, Diarra Kranjcar Traore/Belhadj - Defoe and Crouch eh Jbakes... Still this is leaves us vunerable with no cover for Johnson... and would rather see Hughes than Kranjcar provide cover for the three centre backs... But then again Niko is far more creative than any of the other midfielders we have..
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15/10/2008 19:19:00


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