London: There appears to be no let-up in Portsmouth’s misery with injuries now threatening to wreck any chance of a silver lining to a catastrophic season.
The financially-crippled club, marooned at the bottom of the Premier League after being docked nine points for going into administration, still have an FA Cup semi-final with Tottenham Hotspur to look forward to but are running out of players.
Hermann Hreidarsson suffered a serious Achilles tendon injury in the 2-0 defeat at White Hart Lane on Saturday that brought mathematical relegation into view while their England goalkeeper David James hobbled off with a calf injury.
Like Hreidarsson, Danny Webber also left the pitch on a stretcher. With Ricardo Rocha and Tommy Smith suffering facial injuries in the 5-0 loss to Chelsea in midweek, manager Avram Grant is entitled to feel the football gods are punishing him.
“Last week I said we couldn’t afford to suffer any more injuries, and we’ve had seven since,” Grant, who could not even field a fall compliment of substitutes told reporters.
“We don’t have any choice but to use youth players. We had three of them on the bench today. Injuries are part of the game, but to the extent we have them when we had a short squad anyway is unbelievable.”
The sight of Hreidarsson, a hero of Portsmouth’s 2008 FA Cup-winning team, leaving the field with an oxygen mask on his face was a demoralising blow for the club.
“Hermann is a great, great guy, one of the best professionals I have ever known. He is an example to everyone,” said Grant, whose side face Spurs at Wembley on April 11.
“At the moment we don’t have any central defenders. Tal Ben Haim’s been injured for the last month, Rocha and Wilson are injured, and now Hermann is out. We have a problem.”