Pompey Head To Wembley
Avram Grant maintains he has no option but to keep smiling despite all of Portsmouth's many problems this season, which could just end with FA Cup glory at Wembley.
Administrator Andrew Andronikou has revealed several Pompey players may not be available after Sunday's semi-final against Tottenham because of expensive clauses being triggered in their contracts.
Better news is that Aruna Dindane can return the squad as the Ivory Coast striker has at least one more game before Pompey would have to make his loan move from Lens a £4million permanent switch. Grant - who also has the likes of Hassan Yebda, Kevin Prince Boateng, Nadir Belhadj, Papa Bouba Diop and Tommy Smith all pushing to be in contention at Wembley - will continue to approach what has proved to be the most testing job of his career in the right frame of mind.
"I will ask him. I hope it is not true, but the situation with money here is not easy,'' the former Chelsea boss said regarding the contract clauses.
"But you either smile or you can cry - and I will not cry. "There was not even one moment that I thought of giving up.'' Grant added: "We had to decide what we were playing for, because we knew from January about the nine points. "But to play for the fans is very important. I have been a fan - when you are a fan, you love your club without condition, so to play for them and for pride was very important.'' Grants feels the FA Cup has provided a welcome "easy'' distraction for Portsmouth in a troubled campaign, but is expecting a tough ride against Spurs and former Pompey boss Harry Redknapp. "I am disappointed about many things this season, but which have happened off the pitch,'' said Grant.
"It has, though, been easy for us to concentrate in the cup because we knew nobody could take points from us - although when we came through the quarter-final, they tried. "To be in the last four with such good clubs in this season is a big achievement, but we also want to do well. "I agree it is a big achievement to be in last four, but it would be bigger if we can get to the final.''
Grant believes the way his squad continued to fight for the club in such difficult circumstances is a credit to their character. "Sometimes things have been impossible, even a nightmare, but I have seen so many positive things, how we have played with a fighting spirit,'' said the Pompey boss. "I do not know how we won in the third round at Coventry and then to beat goodteams like Sunderland, Birmingham and also at Southampton, where everyone knows how much it means to us and the fans - we want to continue this.
"This has been one of the identities of this season - despite everything, we have continued fighting, not given up and always play football, which is not kick and run. "We have played the best football of the teams outside the top eight - and