Portsmouth's manager, Harry Redknapp, will face a dilemma if the Icelandic left-back Hermann Hreidarsson is forced to miss Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against West Bromwich Albion at Wembley.
Hreidarsson has had three stitches in an achilles wound and Redknapp will also have to revamp his attacking formation if John Utaka fails to respond to treatment to a damaged hamstring. Both injuries were sustained in last Saturday's 2-0 Premier League win over Wigan.
Both players will receive treatment for the rest of this week at a local hospital, using an oxygen chamber to speed up their recoveries. While Redknapp has plenty of forward options – despite being unable to select the cup-tied striker Jermain Defoe – that is not the case in defence where Noe Pamarot, the natural deputy for Hreidarsson, is still unavailable thanks to a knee injury.
The Cameroon international Lauren could be recalled but his natural position is on the right and the on-loan French defender Lucien Aubey has played only twice in the first team since switching from Lens in January – once as a substitute. He has also been troubled by a hamstring problem.
Redknapp said: "Hermann is determined to play but he had a big hole in his foot and it's nasty. John's injury is a dangerous one too. If we rush him back too soon he could do more damage and be out for weeks."
Redknapp, who is trying to make light of Defoe's absence, said: "He's not available and we've got to get on with it. Of course we are going to miss him, he's scored eight goals in seven games but we've played most of the season so far without him and done well. We've got Kanu, Milan Baros and David Nugent who could all come in. So we are OK. Utaka is probably our only out-and-out winger but there are several ways we can play."
Kanu may be employed as a lone striker against Albion, who are chasing promotion from the Championship, as he was when Pompey fielded a 4-5-1 formation for their 1-0 surprise quarter-final win at Manchester United. Redknapp, however, has faith in Baros, who has not scored in 10 games for the club.
He said: "We need a goal from him but I think he's ready to score. He's shown excellent movement in training, he's played at the very top level with Liverpool, Aston Villa and the Czech Republic and he's a great loan signing for us. I'm sure he's ready to come in and do a job.
"We've still got the option to sign him at the end of the season and I think a few people were surprised we were able to get him on loan from Lyons. There's nothing wrong with his confidence."
The England goalkeeper David James pulled out of training yesterday with a stomach bug but Redknapp is confident the 37-year-old will be fit for Wembley. The midfielder Lassana Diarra, left out of the last two league games, is back in training after recovering from a hamstring strain.Reuse content