Poyet in the frame for Pompey as West Ham linked with Grant

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The Independent Online

The Brighton and Hove Albion manager Gus Poyet is a target for Portsmouth whose manager Avram Grant looks destined for West Ham.

Poyet, 42, took over at Brighton in November with the club fifth from bottom of League One and has led them to safety, nine points above the relegation zone. A former assistant to Juande Ramos at Tottenham Hotspur and Dennis Wise at Leeds United, Poyet's first job as a manager in his own right has been Brighton.

Poyet signed a deal that takes him to the end of next season at Brighton and has suggested that he would like to stay for longer. With Grant the favourite to succeed Gianfranco Zola after Saturday's FA Cup final, Pompey will have to find a manager who is prepared to take part in the huge rebuilding project that looms at the club.

At Portsmouth Poyet would face a potential 15-point deduction if they cannot come to an agreement with the Football League over exiting the financial administration period that they have entered into.

Meanwhile the Portsmouth midfielder Jamie O'Hara may not exactly have been reading from the player's etiquette manual when he announced he wanted Tottenham – who own him – to lose their FA Cup semi-final but he was just speaking his mind, a rare enough occurrence in the football world.

Of course, O'Hara, 23, did not just want to see Spurs lose for the sake of it. As the midfielder is on loan to Pompey and because the two clubs were playing each other he was ineligible. He knew his only chance of playing in the Cup final was if Pompey won, which they duly did, 2-0 after extra time.

Now though, when the Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday is over, he reverts to being a Tottenham player and will have to face Harry Redknapp, their manager, for the first time since those comments last month. "I am not bothered about going back to Spurs. Any issues have been swept under the bridge now," he says slightly confusing his metaphors. "I have spoken to Harry and he is fine with it. It was made a big deal when the story came out. When I spoke to him he said: 'You are young and I know you want to play in a Cup final, but you have to be careful'. Maybe that is something I have got to learn, but I see myself as an honest footballer and was speaking my mind at the time."

O'Hara may have got what he wanted but whether he gets his way at Spurs is another issue. First he has to recover from a double fracture of his lower back, which threatens his participation on Saturday and which needs rest for the whole summer. At the same time he has to establish where he sits in Redknapp's pecking order, as Spurs prepare for Champions League qualifiers.

O'Hara, who has picked up nine player of the year awards for Portsmouth in their doomed league season, said: "I will be sitting down with Harry and seeing what he wants to do with me, whether he wants to offload or keep me.

"I have tasted first-team football now and have played a lot of games. I would not want to go back to sitting on the bench and playing one match in six. Hopefully this season can be a stepping stone to better things. There are already five or six great central midfield players at Spurs, and the manager may bring some more in. Spurs have done fantastically this year, so it is going to be difficult for me to get in the team."

Against the new Premier League champions on Saturday, O'Hara's only hope is that Carlo Ancelotti's men may let their guard down in the wake of last Sunday's triumph.

"We are probably going to need Chelsea to have an off day, maybe they might have a hangover from winning the Premier League," he says. "We are just going to have to play out of our skins and ride our luck a bit. Against Spurs in the semi-final, the lads did brilliantly. If we can do that again, we are going to be in with a chance." Some choice words from O'Hara might help do the trick too.

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