Portsmouth Vs Sunderland, Tue 9 Feb 2010

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Portsmouth could be without Kevin-Prince Boateng and Anthony Vanden Borre for their Barclays Premier League clash with Sunderland at Fratton Park.

Vanden Borre limped off during the second half of Pompey's 5-0 defeat against Manchester United on Saturday and his replacement, Boateng, was also unable to complete the match after suffering an ankle injury.

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Steve Finnan could replace Vanden Borre at right-back if he is ruled out. John Utaka (hamstring) may return but Papa Bouba Diop is still sidelined.

Boss Avram Grant again hit out at the Premier League for failing to lift the club's transfer embargo earlier.

"We have what we have and they are trying their best," he added. "We were waiting for January and we wanted players that know how to score goals but the Premier League decided not to lift the embargo until three days before (the end of the window) and only for loan players.

"I keep saying that the Premier League didn't take responsibility for the situation.

"We were waiting for January and we didn't have a lot of money but we had players on our list that could improve the team, but the Premier League didn't allow us to do that.

"We're trying our best and I'm sure we will score goals before the end of the season and it will be enough."

Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson will be sidelined for a minimum of four weeks as manager Steve Bruce waits to discover the extent of his ankle injury.

The teenager, who was carried off during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Wigan, the trip as he prepares to undergo a scan on Thursday.

Bruce will also be without John Mensah (hamstring), Kieran Richardson (calf) and Anton Ferdinand (ankle) at Fratton Park as the Black Cats attempt to end a run of 11 league games without a win.

Bruce is confident he will be a better manager for the experience of guiding Sunderland through their current crisis.

The 49-year-old saw his side booed off at half-time at the Stadium of Light on Saturday as the home fans vented their frustration at a run of 11 Barclays Premier League games without a victory.

They now head for bottom side Portsmouth knowing an extension of that sequence could see the four-point advantage they enjoy over the bottom three evaporate and plunge them deep into trouble.

However, Bruce is doing what he has done for much of his managerial career to date, rolling up his sleeves and preparing to drag his side out of the mire.

He said: "When you come through it, it makes you better because you learn from it. Nobody likes it, nobody enjoys it, you would be lying if you said you enjoyed it. But certainly you learn from it and you take it on with you.

"I have worked hard all my life and I will try to work as hard as I can to pull us around. I am the same one who came in six months ago, nothing has changed in that respect. There's no hiding place from it, we have just got to get a result, it's as simple as that."

Bruce admitted after Saturday's game his players had been nervous and edgy in front of their own fans and is hoping the trip to Fratton Park might come as a welcome change.

He said: "I have seen big players fall, I have seen big players not be able to handle it.

"The one thing I have learned here is our recruitment has to be based on big players who can handle an expectant crowd.

"The demands are very, very big and you have to be able to handle it, otherwise you are going to find what we did on Saturday, where we didn't handle the occasion at all."

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