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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 May, 2004, 01:42 GMT 02:42 UK
LuaLua snubs Magpies plea
Lomana LuaLua (left) playing for Portsmouth against Newcastle
LuaLua (left) wants to stay with Pompey
Lomana LuaLua has rejected the chance to play for injury-hit Newcastle in the Uefa Cup semi-final in Marseille, opting to stay with Portsmouth instead.

The two clubs had agreed a deal in principle for the 23-year-old to fly out to France, but LuaLua has snubbed Sir Bobby Robson's plea for cover.

"He does realise it's a big game," said LuaLua's agent Tony Finnigan.

"But he wants to show Pompey's he committed to them - he's happy where he is and wants to show what he can do."

Finnigan added: "Lomana took a gamble going to Pompey but he is happy to stay.

"The fans there have really taken to him and although three other teams are interested in him, Lomana is keen to stay at Pompey and play first-team football each week."

Portsmouth Chief Executive Peter Storrie said he would have been happy to let LuaLua play.

"Now we are mathematically safe we were prepared to let Lomana go back if that is what Newcastle and he wanted," he said.

"We appreciate the injury problems Newcastle have at such a busy time and obviously helping them in any way we can would have been a positive start for any negotiations to making Lomana our player."

The Democratic Republic of Congo forward has proved to be a big hit at Fratton Park after helping Portsmouth secure their Premiership status and is likely to make the move permanent in a 2m summer deal.

He has scored four important goals, including one against Newcastle, since joining Pompey during the January transfer window.

When asked about LuaLua's refusal play in the Uefa Cup semi-final, Magpies boss Robson said: "I don't really want to talk about LuaLua.

"He's not here and I have no interest in him as far as this game is concerned."

Pompey eye LuaLua deal
28 Apr 04  |  Portsmouth
LuaLua wants new adventure
30 Apr 04  |  African

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