Portsmouth boss Avram Grant is set to welcome back Steve Finnan and Ricardo Rocha for his side's home clash with Stoke.

Finnan missed the FA Cup derby with Southampton due to a tight groin, while Rocha returns from a ban after being sent off against Sunderland. New signing Dusko Tosic may feature on the bench.

But Anthony Vanden Borre (hamstring), Kevin-Prince Boateng (ankle), Aaron Mokoena (knee ligaments) and Tal Ben-Haim, who had a groin operation last week, are all out. Hermann Hreidarsson is doubtful with an Achilles problem.

Grant is ready to accept players being sold behind his back - for the first and last time in his career.

Portsmouth are reportedly #60 million in debt and facing a winding-up petition from HM Revenue and Customs in the High Court early next month.

Those problems have prompted the club to apply to the Premier League for permission to sell players outside of the usual transfer windows.

The likes of Algerian left-back Nadir Belhadj and promising centre-half Marc Wilson have both been linked with moves away to balance the club's books.

Chief executive Peter Storrie admitted he and Grant nearly walked out of Fratton Park last month, when Younes Kaboul and Asmir Begovic were sold without their say-so.

But the former Chelsea manager is prepared to do his best for the club as long as he is in charge, despite the prospect of his already threadbare squad being further depleted.

On the subject of players being sold behind his back, Grant said: "It has happened to me for the first time in my life.

"I needed to take a decision, and I took a decision to stay and do everything I could for the club.

"There are many things that have happened here that I don't like. Things have happened here that I never accepted in the past and I will not accept in the future.

"But because of the club and the fans, I am trying to do the best I can with this situation."

After the high of knocking local rivals Southampton out of the FA Cup last weekend, Grant admits he was brought back down to earth with a bump when he heard news of Portsmouth considering more player sales.

He said: "At the beginning, I thought it was a joke. But now I know it is not a joke.

"I don't even want to talk about this because I came to this club to do something.

"But every week, or every day sometimes, there is a new thing and I don't know whether these things are sad or funny sometimes.

"Everything happens after we get a good result - something happened after the wins against Burnley and Liverpool.

"We got a good result against Southampton and I thought nothing could happen now because there is no transfer window. You cannot say there is no creativity at this club."

Stoke full-back Danny Higginbotham is doubtful due to a back spasm.

Higginbotham suffered discomfort during the draw with Manchester City in midweek and did not appear for the second half.

Abdoulaye Faye is sidelined through suspension after being sent off in that match while Matthew Etherington remains absent with a knee injury.

Rory Delap admits his form has dipped during a run that has seen Stoke unbeaten in nine matches in all competitions since the turn of the year.

The midfielder, whose long throws tend to disguise his skill with the ball at his feet, is his own harshest critic.

Despite starting in 21 of 24 league games, the 33-year-old feels he can do better.

He is looking to retain his place in the side following the draw with Manchester City.

Delap said: "I have been in and out of the team a little bit. But I have not been too happy with my form in a few of the games.

"Whether that is age or not I don't know. When I've had a rest and missed a couple of matches it has done me good.

"I think that has shown in my performances when I have come back into the side.

"Playing Saturday, Tuesday, I do feel it in my legs. But some of the younger lads are saying pretty much the same thing.

"It is hard to remember what you were like at 23-24. There is a bit of tiredness there but that is only natural now.

"While the results have been pretty pleasing, I still want to play every game."

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Portsmouth
Stoke City
Football
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