Strain tells as LuaLua faces fine

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The Independent Football

Portsmouth's striker Lomana LuaLua wants to fight a Football Association charge of insulting and abusive behaviour, but may have to accept a hefty fine.

LuaLua is alleged to have gestured to Middlesbrough supporters who barracked him during Pompey's 1-1 draw at the Riverside in October.

Portsmouth's chief executive Peter Storrie thinks he witnessed the incident in question and describes the charge as "utter nonsense," but reports that a video of the episode has been passed to the police on Teesside means LuaLua probably has no real defence. He has until 22 December to respond to the FA charge.

LuaLua, who has been fighting a nagging groin strain, came back after two weeks out to score Pompey's dramatic last-minute winner as a substitute against West Brom on Saturday.

He celebrated in trademark fashion with four spectacular somersaults - also getting himself booked for going into the crowd to hug fans - and almost inevitably left Fratton Park limping and requiring intensive treatment to be fit for this Saturday's trip to Newcastle.

LuaLua had to put pressure on Portsmouth's staff to come on as a substitute because they feared a recurrence of his injury, which he was advised, but declined, to have surgery on earlier in the season.

He said: "I kept telling Kevin Bond to put me on because it's frustrating just watching, but I haven't been training and they knew best. I came back too early against Manchester City two weeks ago and had to come off after 20 minutes.

"Watching from the sidelines, I knew if I came on and ran with the ball I would cause them problems, but I'm still feeling pain in the first few steps of my runs. I'm only about 75 per cent fit so I was glad just to be on the pitch at all.

"I nearly joined West Brom so their fans were booing me when I was warming up and that made it even nicer to score against them."