Pompey can take Hart after latest fightback

Stoke City 2 Portsmouth 2

In eight days’ time, Portsmouth will face Chelsea. It will be Paul Hart versus Guus Hiddink, the caretaker versus the interim manager, the battle of the temps. Both were appointed in their respective roles at roughly the same time, little under a fortnight ago.

But while the Dutchman concentrates on the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup, Hart, five points clear of the relegation zone, has to focus on staying in the league and in a job. Come May – perhaps come what may – Hiddink will return to his regular job, coaching the Russia national team. As for Hart (right), his future has no such certainty.

Having guided Pompey to their first league win in over two months, against Manchester City last week, and salvaged a draw here in injury time at the Britannia Stadium, Hart knows he has bought himself a certain amount of credit if he is to win the job full-time. Meanwhile, Sven Goran Eriksson, presently the Mexico national coach, lurks, with Pompey’s owner Alexander Gaydamak contemplating hiring the Swede.

Hart is no novice, although these games are his first in charge at Premier League level. He has managed Nottingham Forest, Chesterfield and most recently Barnsley, almost 300 games in total.

Yet he refuses to make a blatant play for the permanent job at Fratton Park. Asked about the idea, he said: “I haven’t really got to that point yet, we’re working game to game. We’ve planned up to the Chelsea game. It’s a great club and I’ve been there two years now and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s pretty good at the moment.”

Hart is making himself heard loud and clear to his players, who are still getting over the mixed messages sent out during Tony Adams’ ill-fated reign.

After as dire a 75 minutes as you will see all season, the game sprang to life with Niko Kranjcar’s goal. That was answered by a penalty for non-existent handball against Glen Johnson, when the ball struck his shoulder. James Beattie, who joined last month from Sheffield United, converted the penalty and then scored his fourth goal in five games with a header. A win would have taken Stoke level on points with their opponents but Hermann Hreidarsson’s shot deflected off Ryan Shawcross’s shin for the equaliser.

Stoke’s manager Tony Pulis was full of regret at the waste of two points in their relegation fight. They will need the returning Rory Delap and Matt Etherington next weekend against Aston Villa to make sure they do not slip into the bottom three.

Goals: Kranjcar (75) 0-1; Beattie pen (76) 1-1; Beattie (80) 2-1; Hreidarsson (90) 2-2.

Stoke City (4-4-2): Sorensen; Wilkinson, Shawcross, Ab Faye, Higginbotham; Lawrence (Tonge, 66), Am Faye, Diao, Pugh; Beattie, Sidibé (Cresswell, 84). Substitutes not used: Simonsen (gk), Whelan, Kitson, Camara, Sonko.

Portsmouth (4-2-3-1): James; Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson; Basinas (Mullins, 72), Davis; Pennant, Kranjcar (Kanu, 89), Nugent (Belhadj, 89); Crouch. Substitutes not used: Begovic (gk), Kaboul, Pamarot, Utaka.

Booked: Stoke: Lawrence; Portsmouth: Hreidarsson.

Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).

Man of the Match: Beattie.

Attendance: 26,354.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss