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By ESPN Staff

Traore eager to forget his Charlton nightmare

Portsmouth's £1million signing Djimi Traore describes his six months at Charlton as the worst of his career - and is determined to make the most of his switch from a relegation fight to a team at the right end of the Premiership.

The 26-year old Mali left-back, preparing for his Pompey debut at Sheffield United tomorrow, said: 'It was a bad time for me at Charlton. I had a red card in my first game for them and I had a bad injury to my left leg [a stress fracture] and was out for two months.

'When I came back again the manager who signed me, Iain Dowie, was sacked - and I ended up playing more games for Les Reed than him. The last Saturday we were knocked out of the FA Cup at Nottingham Forest.

'But suddenly I have this great opportunity to show what I can really do again - and I know I have to repay Harry Redknapp's faith in me.

'I think he will be about my fifth manager in six months. It is a very strange feeling, but I want to make the most of it. I hope, too, that Charlton will get safe - but it depends on what they do in the transfer window.

'I have no doubt that Portsmouth are going to do well because they have some very good players - and that is all-important.'

Redknapp is delighted to have former Liverpool defender Traore on board.

'He is big, strong and has a lovely left foot - just what we will need at Sheffield United,' he said. 'He will do well for us.'

Redknapp, who has signed Traore as cover for injured defenders Dejan Stefanovic and Noe Pamarot, has also taken French midfielder Arnold Mvuemba, 21, on loan from Rennes for the rest of the season - and wants to push through a loan deal for another Charlton defender, Souleymane Diawara, next week.

The 28-year-old Senegalese centre-half cost Charlton £3.7 million from Sochaux in the summer - a price that put Redknapp off at the time.

Charlton's new boss Alan Pardew seems content to let him go, especially if he can get out-of-favour Pompey centre-back Andy O'Brien in exchange.

Redknapp said: 'I'd like to get him on a loan because, like Djimi, he has probably not been seen at his best at Charlton. Alan Pardew has come in and wants to make some changes - and it could suit both of us.'

Pompey's record signing Benjani Mwaruwari - £4.4m from Auxerre a year ago - has been declared fit after a hamstring injury for the trip to Bramall Lane, but Redknapp is likely to stick with Kanu and Andrew Cole after their goals in last week's FA Cup win over Wigan.

Pompey came from behind to beat Sheffield United at Fratton Park two days before Christmas - but Redknapp knows Neil Warnock will have the Blades primed for revenge.

'They are doing well in their first season up in the Premiership, and Neil has shown he knows what he is doing. It will be another big test for us,' he predicted.