McCarthy linked with Portsmouth transfer

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The Independent Online

Portsmouth midfielder Aaron Mokoena would love to see former Blackburn team-mate Benni McCarthy join him at Fratton Park.

The South Africa striker has been linked with a January move to the south coast as he struggles for games at Ewood Park.

With the World Cup in his home land starting next June, McCarthy will be concerned about his place in the national side after starting just one Barclays Premier League game all season.

Pompey have been linked with the hitman and while Mokoena knows manager Paul Hart has the final say, he feels his fellow countryman could fire the Fratton Park outfit to safety.

He said: "Benni has been there, done it and he has experience.

"It would be good to have him on board but obviously, it's up to the manager.

"He's a fantastic player - he has played in the Champions League and won the Champions League.

"It would be good to have him, but like I said, it's up to the gaffer."

He added: "Obviously, I worked with Benni for years - we've played together in the national team and at Ajax.

"I know him as a person too. He's a quality player, especially in the box. He's a player that can score goals."

Mokoena admits he has been in contact with McCarthy prior to Pompey's vital Premier League trip to Ewood Park tomorrow.

The South African skipper admits the Rovers forward is concerned about his World Cup spot after being largely restricted to substitute cameos and is keen to move on in January.

He added: "He has had a tough time lately at Blackburn. I spoke to him personally and he really feels it's about time for him to move on now.

"Hopefully, things will work out for him and his future.

"It's all about playing in the World Cup and to play in the World Cup, you need to be playing for your club."

Mokoena has been subjected to a few problems of his own this term.

He was booed by a small minority of Pompey fans when he came on as a substitute against Stoke in the Carling Cup on October 27.

The midfielder says he did not pick up on this, though, and has been pleased with the welcome he has received since joining the club in July.

The 28-year-old said: "I don't know why people keep saying there were boos - I wasn't really aware of this.

"I spoke to the gaffer about it and he wasn't aware of it. I don't know where that comes from.

"There are people who have been great to me - that's the one thing I know.

"I had a question-and-answer session with the fans at Fratton Park and it was all positive.

"I understand that it's part of the game and I have been part of this game for years. But for me, it's a minor thing."

Portsmouth could climb out of the drop zone and possibly move above fellow strugglers Blackburn if they claim three points at Ewood Park.

Rovers have been unbeaten in their last four home matches in all competitions, so Mokoena is under no illusions as to the size of the task Pompey face.

But he said: "It's one of the most important games of the season and we are all aware of where we are.

"They've had a good run at home and it's going to be hard for us to go down there."

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