By Site reporter
Wednesday 02 Apr 2008 23:27:09
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Milan Baros appears likely to be Pompey's right-hand man if John Utaka loses his fight to be fit to face West Brom.

Utaka's hamstring injury is not as straightforward as thought at first and he is running out of time to get back in training and sharp enough to take on the Baggies at Wembley on Saturday.

Assistant boss Tony Adams has indicated that does not necessarily mean the Blues ditching the 4-5-1 formation they often use away from Fratton Park. And manager Harry Redknapp has been talking up Baros as a strong contender for a start in the semi - while David Nugent is not out of the picture either.

Without Utaka, many would expect Pompey to go for a 4-4-2 formation with Kanu and Baros up front, and Papa Diop used on the right of a four-man midfield or even a diamond formation.

But Adams says Utaka is not the only player who can operate wide right.

Adams said: 'John's got a little strain at the minute. It's a shame. He's been looking quite lively of late and has scored some good goals. He's been very important to us and that's been his position for us.

'If he's out it leaves us with a little bit of a problem finding someone else to fill it. We haven't needed them often to be fair. Milan Baros has done it in France, David Nugent has done it for Preston. I remember him playing against Southampton off the right last season and doing well.

'They can both come in and do us a decent job for sure. It's not all about John. We've got a couple of alternatives if we want to go that way if we think it can work. We're not going to suddenly get rid of the 4-5-1 system.

'We're looking at every avenue at the moment and if we think it's a system which is going to win the game then we will play it. We've got a lot of results playing that way. Then again, we've got good results playing 4-4-2, some we haven't. It's something to look at definitely. Whatever the decision, we'll come up with a team to win the game, hopefully.'

Redknapp said Jermain Defoe would be missed, but Pompey had got this far without him and he was not the only goalscorer on the books.

'Of course we’ll miss Defoe, but we’ve played well without him this season," said Redknapp. 'I’ve got Kanu, Nugent and Baros, so I’ve got options up there. We need Milan Baros to score. He’s determined, makes clever runs and has played a lot at the top level. I’m sure he is ready to do the job for us.'

The final batch of Pompey tickets for the game sold out in three hours today, meaning there will be more than 33,000 Blues fans present when their team play their first semi-final in 16 years and first game at Wembley in 50 years more than that.

We'll have a look at the West Brom end of things on this website on Thursday night, plus all the other news as the big game nears.

Discuss the build-up - and which formation Pompey should play - on the messageboard.



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