O'Hara expects to be fit for FA Cup final

Tuesday 27 April 2010 15:18 BST
O'Hara is on loan from Tottenham
O'Hara is on loan from Tottenham

Midfielder Jamie O'Hara insists he will be fit to take on Chelsea in the FA Cup at Wembley.

The on-loan Spurs midfielder was forced to miss the semi-final after his parent club refused him permission to play against them.

Back problems have since threatened O'Hara's chances of playing in the final on May 15, but he has give coach Avram Grant a major boost by insisting he will be ready in time.

"I've got some bruising on the bone and it got pretty painful," said O'Hara.

"It got inflamed where I have been playing so many games - I think I played 15 games on the spin.

"I was trying to play through the pain for the past month or so, but it got to the point where I just needed to rest it.

"It's not going to be 100% for the final, but I'll go out there on one leg if I have to. I'm not going to miss out on this game."

The 23-year-old could return to training either later this week or early next week.

"I will try to get myself right," he added. "I'm a bit like a boxer at the moment - I'm resting until two weeks before and then I will really crack on and get myself right for the game."

Midfielder Richard Hughes believes striker Aruna Dindane can be the key to causing an upset in the final.

Dindane, back in the Pompey ranks after Lens dropped their bid for £4m compensation to allow him to play for the rest of the season, scored twice against Bolton in a 2-2 draw last weekend.

"It's massively important Aruna is back, he can be a real handful," said Hughes.

"He's got bags of pace, bags of strength and is awkward to play against.

"With his great quality, pace and trickery, slower players like myself hate playing against him. He knows it and makes the most of it.

"If he can get space in behind the defender and have a one-on-one - even in training - your first instinct is to retreat and that gives him space to make things happen.

"The way we played in that semi-final, we absorbed everything and defended well against Tottenham with people putting their body on the line.

"But you need that bit of speed and strength and creativity going the other way to keep them on the back foot, and that's what we did very well, especially Aruna.

"We didn't allow it to be constant waves of Tottenham attacks because they always worried about what we had to offer on the counter-attack - and more than half-a-dozen times we managed to break well.

"He's a top-level player and surely will keep playing in the Premier League for somebody next season."

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