Fulham Vs Portsmouth, Wed 3 Feb 2010

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Boss Roy Hodgson is set to hand Nicky Shorey and Stefano Okaka their Fulham debuts in the Barclays Premier League match against Portsmouth.

The two players have joined the Cottagers on loan from Aston Villa and Roma respectively until the end of the season.

They are a welcome boost to Hodgson, who has seen his squad ravaged by injuries.

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Hungarian midfielder Zoltan Gera became the latest casualty after sustaining a knee injury in training to take Hodgson's injured list to six players.

Hodgson said: "The injury front is very bad. As bad as I have ever experienced in football. I've got six of our first team out injured and one who has not returned yet from the African Nations Cup.

"To lose seven players from the team which played last year is always going to take some time dealing with.

"Fortunately, we have had some players come in on loan - Nicky Shorey and Stefano Okaka - which has allowed me to plug some gaps.

"But I am very disappointed. Simon Davies, who I hoped would recover for the game, is out and Zoltan Gera has hurt himself in training.

"To lose a further two in our current situation - it seems we are now paying for the really good form we had last season with injuries."

Fulham are looking to end an unwelcome run of five straight Premier League defeats against the division's bottom club.

Hodgson added: "We have to stop the rot by winning but we know it will not be easy. Portsmouth are a better team than their league position shows and we saw that when they played Manchester City on Sunday.

"You don't stop the rot by talking about it, you do it by playing and winning. We need that win.

"We have not been playing that badly but we have made mistakes and we have been punished by those mistakes and at the other end we have not scored enough goals.

"That is what we have been guilty of because in terms of football play over the 90 minutes, we have not been that bad at all.

"The morale and spirit is good but confidence takes a hit when you are not winning. We have to accept that situation because we want to win and we need to win."

Portsmouth boss Avram Grant has hit out at the broken promises which have left his side staring Premier League relegation in the face.

The Israeli took over as manager when Paul Hart was sacked in November and was led to believe he would be in a position to add four new players to his side last month.

But with the club struggling to pay its players for the fourth time this term, and needing to sell Younes Kaboul and Asmir Begovic to balance the books, Pompey have only been able to recruit striker Quincy Owusu-Abeyie.

The Kaboul and Begovic deals were negotiated behind Grant and chief executive Peter Storrie's backs, prompting both men to consider leaving Fratton Park.

Both opted to stay, but Grant admits owner Ali Al-Faraj's failure to deliver the new blood he needed during the transfer window has hurt their hopes of survival.

Grant, whose side play Fulham at Craven Cottage on Wednesday, said: "I'm not a quitter and I'm not afraid of problems - for me a problem is a big challenge and I came here with a big challenge.

"But I'm very, very disappointed with the situation off the pitch and I'm very disappointed that people cannot do what they promised me."

Grant added: "When I came to the team, I knew the situation was not good with the football side, but they promised me everything was good with the financial side and that we would bring four players more.

"So we made a lot of progress on the football side. We took points and the team played good football - not worse than the teams in 10th or even eighth place.

"We showed a lot of character and were thinking about the next step - to stay in the league.

"We needed to bring in players so that the squad could be good, especially as we had a lot of injuries in the team.

"There was a lot of pressure on a very short squad and we didn't have time to let players who were coming back from injury ease their way back into the squad.

"We've had injuries, as we thought we would have, and instead of bringing in two players, we sold two players. I'm very disappointed."

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