Portsmouth skipper refuses to give up survival fight

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Portsmouth captain Aaron Mokoena has vowed the players will never give up in their seemingly hopeless battle to stay in the Barclays Premier League.

Bottom club Pompey went into administration on Friday with estimated debts of £78million, including an outstanding tax bill of £12.1million, and look set to be deduced nine points which would effectively seal their fate, but South Africa midfielder Mokoena maintains the team will battle until the end.

"The good thing at the moment is at least we know where we stand with administration. That's a big relief," Mokoena said in the Portsmouth News. "For me personally, I hope everybody connected with the club, especially the players, fights until the last moment, the last game."

He added: "We just have to try to get ourselves back in the Premier League again next year, but it is not over, we still have a lot of games to play.

"We need to show our professionalism, we need to make sure our fans enjoy each and every game we play from now until the end of the season. That's how it is."

Despite the off-field chaos, which also saw players and staff not paid on time several times, Avram Grant's men have managed to find some form in recent matches, taking four points from a possible nine following the morale-boosting victory over fellow relegation strugglers Burnley.

Mokoena insists the players have to remain focused on the job in hand, which could yet yield a return to Wembley for the 2008 FA Cup winners.

"It is a big challenge and it is up to us to go onto the field and give our best, that is all we can affect," he said.

"You can't really ask much more from players, we have all done what we could. There is no question about fighting spirit in the dressing room.

"We have brilliant players, the character is unbelievable. There was a point where we never got paid but we kept coming into training and giving it all and that shows what amazing players we have."

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