Pompey boss eyes great escape

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Portsmouth manager Avram Grant is certain his side can pull off a great escape from the Premier League's drop zone despite a wretched season on and off the pitch so far.

Pompey are bottom of the Barclays Premier League and earlier this week the club were forced to deny claims they were on the brink of entering administration, with unpaid transfer fees and other debts hanging over them.

But Grant said: "We need to come to the end of January in a position from where we can get some good results and escape from the relegation zone. I think we can do it. We need to think about things game by game but we need to think about more than this."

He added: "If we come to the end of January and we are in a position like we are now, we can stay in the league.

"We would like to be in a better situation than this but we are taking it from game to game and are looking to take the points."

One thing which would greatly boost Pompey's survival chances would be having veteran goalkeeper David James, who has been struggling with a calf injury, back in their starting XI.

But Grant says he will not be taking any chances on James' fitness.

He said: "I hope David will be fit. He is a good goalkeeper and a very good leader.

"However, I don't like to risk players because we have a lot of games.

"If there is any risk involved, then we won't do it. We have so many games in the next three weeks."

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