Utaka could start up front for Portsmouth

Jermain Defoe’s enforced absence could mean a surprise start for John Utaka in Portsmouth’s Barclays Premier League clash with Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Jermain Defoe’s enforced absence could mean a surprise start for John Utaka in Portsmouth’s Barclays Premier League clash with Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Manager Harry Redknapp is reluctant to start Kanu, who is needed for the FA Cup semi-final in two weeks when Defoe is cup-tied, but needs a new front-line partner for Milan Baros tomorrow and winger Utaka can also play central.

Redknapp is without the injured Sol Campbell (knee) and suspended midfielders Sulley Muntari and Papa Bouba Diop – Pedro Mendes and Richard Hughes are hoping for replacement roles along with Arnold Mvuemba and Sean Davis.

Provisional squad: James, Johnson, Hreidarsson, Distin, Lauren, Diarra, Mendes, Hughes, Kranjcar, Davis, Mvuemba, Baros, Utaka, Kanu, Aubey, Nugent, Ashdown.

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