Football

Huth sorry now

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German defender Robert Huth maintains that Stoke must shake themselves out of a run which is threatening their Premier League future.

Huth has just returned to the side following a three-match suspension, and he has stepped into a situation he claims is "so un-Stoke-like."

The Potteries gained a reputation last season for not conceding many goals and certainly not losing winning positions.

But they have squandered a two-goal lead against Wolves, drawing 2-2, while losing at Hull after taking the lead.

Huth, who may again play at right-back in tomorrow's home match against struggling Portsmouth, explained: "We have thrown away a couple of good positions recently when we should have won, that has been disappointing and we must put it right.

"It is so unlike Stoke to be winning and then find ourselves losing or even drawing, that has not been our strength and reputation.

"We must make sure we put this right, quickly. We have been working hard and we know that cannot be tolerated for much longer.

"Sometimes these things happen, but it is up to us to get it right. We know Pompey are down at the bottom, but they have improved a lot recently and they beat us 4-0 in the Carling Cup.

"With the players they have they will not be down at the bottom for much longer, but we cannot allow them to improve though at our expense."

Huth would prefer to play in his favoured position at centre-back but said: "I have only just returned from suspension and I really want to get stuck in against Portsmouth.

"I played at right-back at Hull last week and I would rather be in at centre-back. But if the manager asks you to do something, then you do it."

But boss Tony Pulis, without the suspended Abdoulaye Faye, may leave Huth on the right of defence.

Pulis said: "We can play Danny Higginbotham or Leon Cort at centre-half now that Faye is suspended, and leaving Huth at full-back. We have choices.

"Huth has done brilliantly for me at right-back, even though I know he wants to play in the centre of defence. I will have to decide."

The Potters could also be missing Republic of Ireland international Glenn Whelan, who suffered a groin strain playing in the World Cup play-off with France on Wednesday.

He will have a scan and a late fitness test before boss Tony Pulis decides whether to risk the midfielder.

Portsmouth midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng believes his move to Fratton Park has given his career a new lease of life after two years in the cold at Tottenham.

The 22-year-old has become a vital cog in Paul Hart's side since joining the Fratton Park outfit for #4million in August.

However, he was given very little chance to shine at White Hart Lane and was dogged by questions about his attitude off the field, as he struggled to get games under Martin Jol, Juande Ramos and Harry Redknapp.

Having netted twice in eight Premier League appearances for the south coast strugglers, Boateng is happy to be putting his troubled run in north London behind him.

Boateng said: "First of all when I came to Tottenham, Martin Jol didn't want to sign me. It was (director of football Damien) Comolli who signed me. I came to the club and the gaffer didn't even know me.

"Then he was sacked and (Juande) Ramos came. I played a couple of games and then he said to me that I wasn't good enough.

"So he dropped me and then I wasn't in the squad for 18 weeks. After 12 weeks, I went and asked him why I wasn't playing. But he just said `keep training, keep training."'

Boateng admits he was never given an explanation for his constant omission from the Tottenham side.

He added: "I didn't know how to handle this, so I did stupid things like arguing with people and so on.

"The first time I argued, the second time I argued - then I was finished. I didn't play anymore.

"Then Harry came and people went to him and said `Boateng is crazy, he is stupid. He's a good footballer, but he's stupid."'

Portsmouth boss Paul Hart may hand Iceland international Hermann Hreidarsson his first appearance of the season.

The 35-year-old has been plagued by a hamstring injury this term but played 65 minutes of a behind-closed-doors friendly against Cheltenham on Tuesday and is training with the first team.

Ivory Coast striker Aruna Dindane is a slight doubt after he returned from international duty with a chest infection while Papa Bouba Diop remains out with a hamstring problem.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Portsmouth
Stoke City
Internationals
Football
Hermann Hreidarsson
Danny Higginbotham
Robert Huth
Papa Bouba Diop
Kevin-Prince Boateng
League Cup
Premier League
Cheltenham Town
Abdoulaye Faye
Leon Cort
Glenn Whelan
Hull City
Aruna Dindane
Wolverhampton Wanderers
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