Grant ready to let Portsmouth stars leave

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The Independent Online

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant is ready to accept players being sold behind his back - for the first and last time in his career.

Portsmouth are reportedly £60 million in debt and facing a winding-up petition from HM Revenue and Customs in the High Court early next month.

Those problems have prompted the club to apply to the Premier League for permission to sell players outside of the usual transfer windows.

The likes of Algerian left-back Nadir Belhadj and promising centre-half Marc Wilson have both been linked with moves away to balance the club's books.

Chief executive Peter Storrie admitted he and Grant nearly walked out of Fratton Park last month, when Younes Kaboul and Asmir Begovic were sold without their say-so.

But the former Chelsea manager is prepared to do his best for the club as long as he is in charge, despite the prospect of his already threadbare squad being further depleted.

On the subject of players being sold behind his back, Grant said: "It has happened to me for the first time in my life.

"I needed to take a decision, and I took a decision to stay and do everything I could for the club.

"There are many things that have happened here that I don't like. Things have happened here that I never accepted in the past and I will not accept in the future.

"But because of the club and the fans, I am trying to do the best I can with this situation."

After the high of knocking local rivals Southampton out of the FA Cup last weekend, Grant admits he was brought back down to earth with a bump when he heard news of Portsmouth considering more player sales.

He said: "At the beginning, I thought it was a joke. But now I know it is not a joke.

"I don't even want to talk about this because I came to this club to do something.

"But every week, or every day sometimes, there is a new thing and I don't know whether these things are sad or funny sometimes.

"Everything happens after we get a good result - something happened after the wins against Burnley and Liverpool.

"We got a good result against Southampton and I thought nothing could happen now because there is no transfer window. You cannot say there is no creativity at this club."

When he took over as manager from Paul Hart in November, Grant was not expecting his every wish to be provided.

But he says a string of broken promises have severely hampered his efforts to keep a sinking club in the Premier League.

He said: "I'm not happy with the situation because when you promise something, you need to keep your promise.

"I know it's not easy in football and I know not 100 per cent of the things I want can be done. But it's not possible that 100 per cent of the things will not be done.

"I don't know who is at fault - I am not involved with the financial situation.

"But I'm trying not to think about myself at the moment and I'll give everything to the team, which is important for the future of the club.

"I know not many people believed I would stay two months ago, but I stayed even though the situation was very bad."

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