Football

Portsmouth deny Kaboul exit rumours

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Avram Grant played down fresh speculation linking Younes Kaboul with a move away from cash-strapped Portsmouth after he played no part in the FA Cup third-round replay against Coventry.

The 24-year-old centre-back - who is arguably the club's biggest asset when it comes to wiping out some of their estimated £60million debt - was missing from Pompey's squad at the Ricoh Arena as Aaron Mokoena secured a dramatic 2-1 extra-time victory.

Sunderland and Lens are the latest sides to be linked with a move for the £7million-player, but with talk intensifying as to why Kaboul was absent at the Ricoh Arena, Grant said: "He couldn't play, he was injured. Younes was injured."

He added: "He tried and wanted to play but for him to play two games in four days is not good. But I think he will be available for Saturday."

Grant was only able to name six substitutes as opposed to the permitted seven, and he added: "One of them was a player from the academy, but you know the problems we have at the club.

"I want to speak about the players that were here and not about the problems."

Pompey's somewhat fortunate progress into the fourth round comes as a welcome respite in otherwise gloomy times at Fratton Park.

The south-coast outfit, who are propping up the Barclays Premier League table, are expected to find out on Wednesday whether they have been successful in their attempts to lift their transfer embargo and also receive around £7m in television money despite various clubs awaiting payment.

Portsmouth are also challenging the winding-up petition served on them by HM Revenue and Customs before Christmas, but with all the negative publicity, Grant was keen to stress how proud he was of his players having seen then come from behind against their Coca-Cola Championship opponents.

"I don't see many clubs in this situation who could continue fighting and not give up," he said. "This shows a lot of character. I'm very proud of what the players are doing and I think it's unique."

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Topics:
Portsmouth
Younes Kaboul
Football
Premier League
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