Hart wants unity at Portsmouth

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The Independent Football

Portsmouth boss Paul Hart has called on the club to continue weathering the storm after chief executive Peter Storrie was charged with cheating the public revenue.

The impending charge relates to the transfer of midfielder Faye from Auxerre to Portsmouth for £1.5million in August 2003.

It is alleged that Faye was paid a £250,000 signing on fee on which tax was not paid. Storrie has pledged to "defend the allegations in the strongest possible terms".

It is the latest in a series of problems to hit Portsmouth this season and Hart admits the situation could still get worse before it gets better, but hopes everyone will stick together and keep fighting.

He said: "The football club is going through a difficult period. That's there for everybody to see.

"I just believe that we can get through this together as a club. We might not have seen the tip of it yet. It might be harder but we just have to stick together, put our heads above the parapet and wear our tin helmets.

"I've been in football a long time. I've not seen it and done it all and I'm not trying to be clever, but nothing surprises me."

Hart knows his side also face a fight on the pitch in the coming weeks.

Their next three league matches are against Hull, Wigan and Blackburn, teams they will be looking to beat in their bid to climb off the bottom of the Premier League.

Pompey have received praise for their efforts to play attractive football - in contrast to last season - but Hart knows his side will have to scrap as they hope to add to their three points from nine games.

He said: "Outside the top four, that 'beautiful game' syndrome we all talk about is a myth. It's just a war and the next four games probably won't disappoint on that basis.

"Last year there was a lot of criticism about me playing 4-5-1 and gritty performances and grinding out results which helped keep us up in the Premiership.

"It kept us up and people moaned, but now they're saying we need some gritty displays. You turn the team out to play to their strengths and that's what we have been doing."

While Portsmouth fought admirably before going down 2-1 at home to Tottenham last Saturday, Hart admits his side cannot remain gallant losers for much longer.

They are currently four points adrift of safety and the manager is determined not to let their rivals get away.

He said: "These performances have got to start turning into results because it gets harder.

"We need the points anyway but for our self-belief we need to turn these great performances into results.

"There are people still around us and I think it will be a lower points total (needed to stay up) this year.

"We were all aiming for 42 last year and it was 35."

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