Sadler's Seven hold key for Grant's Pompey line-up at Wembley
By Site reporter
Monday 05 Apr 2010 22:28:00
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Pompey’s medical staff will hold the key to the build-up to Sunday’s date at Wembley. The way they nurse the walking wounded through a week of treatment and get them – or at least some of them – fit to face Spurs will dictate how strong Pompey’s side is on Sunday afternoon.

The red card given to Anthony Vanden Borre on Saturday has only added to a list of players who will be unavailable to Avram Grant for the semi-final. But if anything, it’s the list of those who may or may not make it which is probably keeping the boss awake at night.

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Hayden Mullins went to hospital with a hand injury after the draw with Blackburn but should be okay to face Spurs.

Tal Ben-Haim, Hermann Hreidarsson and Danny Webber are all out of the semi. And Nadir Belhadj, Marc Wilson, Papa Bouba Diop, Prince Boateng, Tommy Smith, David James and Hassan Yebda are all finding their way back from injury.

If even three or four of physio Gary Sadler’s seven make it for Sunday, Pompey’s side will be significantly stronger than the one who resiliently played out a goalless draw against Rovers. And if all seven somehow are worked up to something like full fitness, Grant may even have a rare problem or two along the lines of ‘who do I leave out’.

There is still an outside chance Aruna Dindane could be involved. Blackburn are interesting in buying the striker from Lens, and could loan him back to Pompey for the rest of the season.

Grant is philosophical about it, as ever, and told The News: 'I was a financial man now I need to be a doctor. I need to check the players and see who will be available. It's one more problem to deal with.’

The boss said it would be nice to have a large squad of players all pushing their claims for inclusion at Wembley – but this is Pompey, 2010, and it simply isn’t like that any more.

'For us it's a celebration. It's an event. For teams like Portsmouth you don't get to the semi-final very often. It's not happened many times over the last 112 years,’ Grant said.

'The normal situation is everyone wants to play and now they will fight for their place in the 18. Now we need to get 11 players out. But the one thing I can promise is they will fight.

'For the moment Belhadj has not even started training. He hasn't and nor have the others. It's no secret that because of our situation we were concentrating on the Cup. We have done well in the Cup and are at this stage now.

'We said we would fight in the league but we don't want any injuries. Now we have injuries. I will not fight something I cannot fight. This is what we have. The players we had played with a lot of effort and we need one more effort next Sunday.

'One of the traditions of this club is to fight and fight. We have come to the semi-final at Wembley and are very pleased to be there but we don't want to be the guest of honour.'

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