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The Pompey four, Forest go shopping

Welcome to The Trawler, your weekly submersion through the teeming waters of life in the Championship, League One and League Two. You might be surprised what you find down there.

The Pompey four

Portsmouth are down to four senior players on their wage bill, after Erik 'The Viking' Huseklepp took a longship home to rejoin Norwegian club Brann. Huseklepp's departure follows exits for Greg Halford, who signed for Nottingham Forest, and David Norris, who left for Leeds. Pompey's playing staff now consists of Dave Kitson, Liam Lawrence, Tal Ben Haim and Kanu - all of whom must either be sold or accept a significant wage cut before the start of the new season on August 10, or the club will be liquidated.

Kanu is claiming back pay of around £3 million but, as reported by ESPN, former Pompey manager Harry Redknapp has pledged to speak to the Nigerian to try and find a resolution. "Portsmouth has got to be saved," Redknapp said. "It's a great club with great traditions. It would be a disaster if this club went out of business."

Portsmouth are facing a ten-point deduction as they prepare for life in League One and it remains to be seen if either of the two mooted interest parties in a takeover - the Portsmouth Supporters' Trust and Balram Chainrai's Portpin - can push a deal through.

"It's too early to say," Pompey's administrator Trevor Birch said. "It's only two or three days since we released the deadline statement but we'll keep going."

Forest go shopping

In addition to the deal for Greg Halford, new Nottingham Forest boss O'Driscoll has been busy shopping for Adlene Guedioua (Wolves), Danny Collins (Stoke) and Dan Harding (Southampton) as the Al-Hasawi revolution gathers pace at the City Ground. Left-back Harding is the most recent - the 28-year-old joining on a three-year contract, for an undisclosed fee.

"We're delighted with the way things are taking shape," Forest chairman Omar Al Hasawi said. "Like Adlene, Danny and Greg, Dan is an experienced performer and knows what it takes to gain promotion from the Championship."

There could be more new signings to come, including some hailing from the same country as Forest's new owners, with five Kuwaiti players currently on trial at the club.

Crawley still searching

League One Crawley are not having much success finding a new manager, following the departure of Sean O'Driscoll to Nottingham Forest. The Red Devils have so far been rebuffed by Aldershot manager Dean Holdsworth and also John Pemberton, who runs the academy team at Sheffield United. Their failing recruitment drive is beginning to resemble that performed by Liverpool after the exit of Kenny Dalglish.

Caretaker boss Craig Brewster remains in charge at the Broadfield Stadium and could yet find himself still at the helm for the start of the new campaign. Some would argue that wouldn't be a such a bad thing, seeing as he was the man who secured promotion from League Two last season after Steve Evans left for Rotherham United.

Snodgrass leaves Leeds

Midfielder Robert Snodgrass has joined Premier League Norwich in a £3 million move from Leeds United. The 24-year-old Scot said it was too good an opportunity to turn down, but also believes he'd helped Leeds on their road to recovery. "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank every single person connected with Leeds United for your support over the past four years," he said. "I felt the frustration of the Leeds United fans last season and that is why I stayed on a further year to try and help the club back to where they belong."

Brick wall knocked down

Bury defender Efe Sodje was knocked unconscious during a 2-0 friendly win against Morecombe. The veteran Nigerian suffered a blow to the head just five minutes into the match and was rushed from the Globe Arena for treatment.

"Efe was taken straight to hospital to have his eye looked at," Bury manager Richie Barker said. "He got an elbow to the eye or eye socket and it knocked him unconscious. He's now conscious and sounded okay. I'm surprised he was knocked out because his head is as thick as a brick wall but we'll have to see what the outcome is over the weekend."

Di Canio corner

Paolo Di Canio's excitement levels continue to rise as his Swindon team build towards their season opener against Brighton, in the first round of the Capitol One Cup on August 14. The Robins beat Forest Green 4-0 in a friendly last week and will take on Swindon Supermarine in the most local of local derbies on Monday July 30.

"The improvement that I have seen in the last two or three friendly games is amazing," Di Canio said. "In some way I couldn't have expected such progress but we have brought in good experience and talented players. They already have good knowledge."

Hughes going nowhere

Lee Hughes might be 36 years old, but the veteran striker is still scoring goals and still very much in demand. League One Notts County have turned down offers from Cheltenham Town and Oldham this summer, with manager Keith Curle hopeful of keeping Hughes on board for the new campaign.

"Lee is part of our strike force," Curle said. "I've heard the rumours, I'm not going to say I've not, but Lee Hughes won't leave the club unless it is right for him and the club."


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