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Page last updated at 17:44 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

John Utaka backs Portsmouth survival under Avram Grant

John Utaka
Utaka is expected to play for Nigeria at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations

Portsmouth striker John Utaka believes the club can survive in the Premier League under new boss Avram Grant.

The Nigeria international told BBC Radio Solent: "We've got a great deal of quality in the team. We've got to make sure we stick together.

"We play more offensively now. That is the most important thing if you want to get goals and results."

The 27-year-old has endured a frustrating season so far with just two Premier League starts.

And Utaka feels Grant's influence will serve the team well in their battle to avoid the drop.

"Giving everybody an opportunity to give his best is also good.

"This will not take long and we'll get back to where we're supposed to be."

Grant took over as manager at Fratton Park last week from his existing role as director of football following the departure of Paul Hart.


The 54-year-old oversaw Portsmouth's 4-1 defeat by Manchester United on Saturday that had begun brightly with Pompey holding the Premier League champions 1-1 at half time.

And he endured a second defeat in the Carling Cup quarter-final on Tuesday, going down 4-2 to Aston Villa.

The south coast side remain rooted to the foot of the table, three points adrift of 19th-placed Wolves.

Utaka is one of half a dozen Pompey players expected to represent their country at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola this January for up to six weeks.

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see also
Portsmouth 2-4 Aston Villa
01 Dec 09 |  League Cup
Portsmouth 1-4 Man Utd
28 Nov 09 |  Premier League
Pair given late Nigeria call-ups
25 Aug 09 |  African
Nigeria drop England-based trio
01 Nov 08 |  African
Utaka enjoying life in English football
18 Aug 07 |  Match of the Day
Portsmouth's African army
14 Sep 07 |  African

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