Football

Adams: Campbell can be calm influence

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Portsmouth manager Tony Adams hopes a fit-again Sol Campbell can provide the base for Pompey to rebuild their UEFA Cup campaign in Germany on Thursday.

Portsmouth head into the game with just a single point from their two matches so far in Group E, and realistically must win at the Volkswagen Arena to have any hope of progressing to the last 32.

Campbell is set to be handed a first start in a month and Adams said: "I want Sol to play every game, I think he's a phenomenal football player. I played alongside him so I know his strengths."

He added: "I think we've missed him for the last few games, even though the players who've come in have done very well. You miss someone of that experience.

"We've gone five games undefeated so things aren't going so badly, but I just think we missed a little bit of team maturity.

"After a couple of games when we've been done late, his experience could have helped.

"Someone like that who's been there, seen it, done it has a calming influence on the team. We've just missed players of that experience."

Handing Campbell and Niko Kranjcar starts after respective toe and ankle injuries could be seen as a desperate last throw of the dice, but Adams said simply: "I need my best players on the pitch, so they're going to be playing sooner rather than later."

Even though the financial rewards on offer in Europe's second-tier competition may be dwarfed by the Champions League and Barclays Premier League, Adams insists he would hate to make an early exit from continental competition he looks forward to with relish.

"I just find it very exciting. I loved it as a player, I loved coming to foreign soils," he said. "This is thoroughly exciting for me."

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Topics:
Portsmouth
European News
Niko Kranjcar
Football
Sol Campbell
Tony Adams

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