Latest Pompey media frenzy will grind to a halt at Bolton
By Site reporter
Friday 23 Apr 2010 22:40:00
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Pompey play game number three in their programme of FA Cup final warm-ups when they visit Bolton on Saturday afternoon. And at the end of a week when the club have dominated many of the national football headlines again for all the wrong reasons, the irony is that the game at the Reebok will hardly warrant a column inch in most papers.

Pompey will again want to be competitive against the Trotters, as they were against Villa last time out, but the result scarcely matters and the main hope must be that they will come through their 36th league game of the season with a bit of form and no new injuries or suspensions.


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The revelation that Pompey’s debt is £119m – or to be ‘precise’ is £119m, or less, or more, depending on whose adding-up techniques you have most faith in – has brought new anger fired in the direction of Fratton Park by all sorts of people who are ill-qualified to comment on the Blues’ plight but obviously have nothing better to get worked up about.

Various views have been put forward: of course Pompey shouldn’t play in Europe, of course they should be kicked out of the FA Cup, of course they shouldn’t get parachute payments. But most of it is all talk, and for a short spell at least, it will be nice to talk about a football match again.

The game is not meaningless for Bolton – they will be assured of their safety with a win and even if they lose, it would take the most freak set of results in football history to send them down.

They are on a high after Matt Taylor’s late double earned a win at Stoke last season and will be out to give their home fans – who have been of the long suffering variety this season – a victory to celebrate.

Pompey’s team news is that Frederic Piquionne is likely to return to the frontline (can one person constitute a line?). The French striker was unable to get a flight back because of the air restrictions to play in last week’s Villa clash.

Ricardo Rocha is also set to return to the defence, but Jamie O'Hara (back) and Nadir Belhadj (hamstring) are out – with concern increasing that O’Hara may not be fit for the Cup final, now just three weeks away.

Bolton will have ex-Fratton favourite Matt Taylor in their side but will be without two Pompey old boys. Sean Davis has missed most of the season with a knee ligament injury after leaving Pompey on a free transfer last summer, while Andy O'Brien is sidelined with a thigh problem.

Avram Grant took time out from the Bolton build-up to express his anger at the club being denied a chance to make a late bid to play in the Europa League – a decision the administrators are looking to fight against.

The Pompey manager said: ‘I don't know what to say. We are trying to do our job in football - I think everybody knows that it's difficult but we did it. It's good for the Premier League that a team like us didn't break. We have shown spirit, we are always fighting and always done our best in every situation.

‘I don't understand why there are so many decisions off the pitch. We earned our position in Europe because we did a good job. It was an unbelievable job in very, very difficult circumstances.

‘We need to be in Europe. We have done everything to deserve to be in Europe according to the rules. But now there is another decision off the pitch.’

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