Portsmouth forced to use youth players

Going to Fratton Park today? Bring your boots, you might get a game. So limited are Avram Grant's options, he has named a squad of 13 for today's match against Blackburn Rovers and is expected to fill the bench with youth team players.

"I've never known a situation like it as a manager," said Grant. "You don't just want a team, but competition from the bench, and we don't have this. We've been forced to have a reduced squad anyway, and all these injuries are on top of this."

Prospects for next weekend's FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham were little better. "I hope some will be back, but it's not looking good for Nadir Belhadj, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Hassan Yebda, Marc Wilson and Tal Ben-Haim," he said.

Grant laid the blame for the club's travails at the failure to invest seven years' top flight income in infrastructure. "Look at simple things," he said. "Part of the reason for our injuries is the training ground [rented from a school], the pitch is not so good."

On Tuesday a consortium fronted by property developer Rob Lloyd begins due diligence but the club could be down by then as they will be relegated if they fail to win, and either Hull or West Ham do.

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