Roberto Martinez, the Wigan manager, believes Avram Grant should fight tooth and nail to ensure Portsmouth play in Europe next season.
'Pompey deserve Euro slot'
Roberto Martinez, the Wigan manager, believes Avram Grant should fight tooth and nail to ensure Portsmouth play in Europe next season. After reaching next month's FA Cup final, Pompey would ordinarily be granted a place in the Europa League as opponents Chelsea will again be in the Champions League. However, Portsmouth did not apply for a UEFA club licence ahead of the March 1 deadline for English teams to lodge paperwork with the English FA.
Pompey can submit a retrospective application ahead of a May 31 UEFA deadline, albeit they will have to prove by then they are financially sound just weeks after entering administration. Andrew Andronikou, the administrator, has revealed the club face "an uphill struggle" to make an appeal as they do not have audited accounts, one of the requirements for the licence. Andronikou has insisted to "doing our best to get the club into Europe," with Martinez knowing he would do the same if he was in Grant's shoes.
"You should fight because every success they've had in the cup has been down to performances," said Martinez ahead of his side's clash with Portsmouth at the DW Stadium tonight. "You look at the performance they put in in the semi-final win over Spurs, and that's a great reward for the club, players and the manager - everyone connected with Portsmouth." Wigan go into the game desperate for a win to ease their own fears of relegation as they are currently one place and four points above the drop zone.
After a weekend off to recharge the batteries, Martinez said: "It's good to be refreshed." Martinez will be without the suspended Gary Caldwell while Portsmouth have Anthony Vanden Borre returning. However, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Aaron Mokoena are doubtful. * Compiled by Matt Smith, with agencies Wigan v Portsmouth, KO 10.45pm, Extreme Sport