Gathering The Troops
It was revealed today that Aruna Dindane is able to feature against Harry Redknapp's band of expensively assembled mercenaries, as the clause in his contract reportedly states that Pompey have to pay Lens when he makes 22 appearances for us, and not 20 as originally believed.
That was an extra boost ahead of the news that David James and Steve Finnan are almost certainly going to be fit for the Wembley clash and they may be joined by Papa Bouba Diop, Nadir Belhadj, Hassan Yebda, Tommy Smith and Kevin-Prince Boateng who have all been training this week.
Dindane has continued to train and is likely to go straight into the starting XI whilst Belhadj and Diop also have a good chance of starting. Yebda began training later than the others so may only make the bench as could Boateng who hasn't played a game since walking off at Old Trafford earlier in the season.
Tommy Smith is set to don a special mask for the occasion if he plays, I can see some of the predictable headlines already should he end up scoring the goal that sends Pompey to the FA Cup Final!
Of course, Pompey will still be missing plenty of players with Jamie O'Hara, Hermann Hreidarsson, Anthony Vanden Borre, Danny Webber, Tal Ben-Haim and Marc Wilson all missing the match for one reason or another but Pompey fans might be slightly more confident ahead of the game with the latest team news.
So, if all of these players make a comeback as I expect them to then this is the side I expect Avram Grant to start with on Sunday:
GK: David JAMES
RB: Steve FINNAN
CB: Ricardo ROCHA
CB: Aaron MOKOENA
LB: Nadir BELHADJ
CM: Michael BROWN
CM: Angelos BASINAS
CM: Papa BOUBA DIOP
RWF: Aruna DINDANE
LWF: John UTAKA
CF: Frederic PIQUIONNE
Bench: Jamie ASHDOWN, Hayden MULLINS, Richard HUGHES, Hassan YEBDA, Kevin-Prince BOATENG, Tommy SMITH, KANU
Is that side good enough to beat Tottenham? Yes, if they all perform to their very best and even then we'd probably need some luck too. This situation in terms of gulf in class reminds me very much of Pompey's trip to Old Trafford in the cup two seasons ago.
We had a good team then but Manchester United boasted possibly the best team on the planet at the time and yet we still beat them on their own patch. So we do have a chance on Sunday, and with so many players coming back that chance has just increased.