Portsmouth eye Bolton pair Shittu and McCann

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The Independent Online

Portsmouth manager Paul Hart admitted he is seeking to recruit Bolton pair Danny Shittu and Gavin McCann ahead of tomorrow night's Premier League trip to Birmingham.

Hart's resources have been somewhat depleted, as the club has been left in limbo while Sulaiman Al Fahim completes his protracted takeover from Alexandre Gaydamak at Fratton Park.

But the Pompey boss is striving to add to his side and the likes of Lens striker Aruna Dindane and Rennes forward Olivier Thomert have also been linked with moves to the south coast team.

Hart revealed today Shittu and McCann are on his hit list as he bids to bolster his squad before the transfer window closes on August 31.

He said: "We have a long list of players, which has been added to and players taken off. They're on that list.

"It was pointed out painstakingly to me on Saturday by the press that our squad is looking depleted.

"Numbers added to it would be welcomed at any point. I think most positions need cover."

Hart's efforts to build his squad have not been aided by the fact right-back Anthony Vanden Borre is still waiting for international clearance to make his Pompey bow.

The Belgian has signed from Italian club Genoa and is registered as a Portsmouth player.

He could yet slot into the side against Birmingham, should he receive the go-ahead no later than two hours before the game.

But Hart admits he is frustrated with the Italian FA, who have not yet given the 21-year-old the green light to play.

He said: "As we are here, we're still waiting for his clearance to come through. The request was put in last Wednesday and it's a ridiculous situation.

"It's very frustrating because we, and our FA, have done everything exactly right. It's the Italian FA, which is dragging its heels.

"It's to say when it will be completed but I hope we would get to know today (Tuesday)."

Despite the player's preparations being hindered by bureaucratic delays, Hart is confident he would be ready to face Birmingham if cleared.

He added: "He has done all right. He has played four or five games in pre-season and he had the international game last week, so he'll be ready.

"Vanden Borre can play at right-back and we're trying to bring in players who can play more than one position."

With Hart seeking to bolster his defensive ranks, youngster Marc Wilson may face a battle to hang onto his place in the coming weeks.

The 22-year-old was handed the club's man-of-the-match award in the 1-0 defeat against Fulham at Fratton Park last Saturday.

Hart admits Wilson is still far from the finished article, but he has challenged the Northern Ireland man to keep hold of his spot.

He said: "Marc did okay last Saturday - obviously it would have been a bit nerve-wracking for him, but he coped well in two positions.

"He did well in pre-season but I thought he tired a little in the last 20 minutes. He's a young boy who is learning his trade.

"He's a good defensive midfielder as well as a defender, so he has plenty of strings to his bow.

"Marc is in the team and the way I've always been brought up is if you've got the shirt, keep it.

"That's done by performance and Marc is no different to anyone else."

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