Pompey offer deal to core players

Portsmouth confirmed yesterday that new contracts have been offered to the England goalkeeper David James, defenders Hermann Hreidarsson and Ricardo Rocha and the veteran forward Kanu.

The Fratton Park club, £138m in debt, are preparing for life in the Championship and hope to come out of administration, which led to them being docked nine points by the Premier League, for the start of next season.

The administrator Andrew Andronikou revealed that the club hoped to retain some of their first-team squad to give Pompey a "firm base" on which to build.

While it remains to be seen whether their manager, Avram Grant, who is a target for West Ham, will be in charge next season, the club stated: "It's hoped the popular quartet will bring a wealth of experience and strength to the Blues' side as they seek to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking."