Sol warns Pompey new boys about Cup spirit
Sol Campbell has warned Portsmouth's FA Cup debutants that struggling Preston North End will be no pushover in the fifth round at Deepdale on Sunday.
Skipper Campbell insists Pompey should need no reminding of what lower-league opposition can do in a one-off clash after Harry Redknapp's team scraped through the two previous rounds against Ipswich (1-0) and Plymouth (2-1).
But players like Sulley Muntari, John Utaka and Lucien Aubey are getting their first taste of the FA Cup and Campbell fears they might think it is an easy alternative to the Premier League.
Campbell says: 'A lot of guys coming from playing abroad are used to having it easy in cup games against lower league teams.
'So it is up to us English players to put them right and make sure they know it's not that way here. Like Ipswich and Plymouth in the previous rounds, Preston will be chasing around trying to make life difficult for us.
'We've had to rely on David James making some great saves but we can't keep doing that and we've got to set our stall out right, match the opposition in the hard work department and then, hopefully, making our ability count.
'It is nice to have a cup run at this stage of the season when the team is doing well in the league. You never know where it might lead.'
Manager Redknapp, who has already stated Pompey's commitment to the FA Cup, will field his strongest available side at Preston - who slipped back to the brink of the Championship relegation zone with defeat at Colchester on Tuesday.
And Redknapp believes Pompey's four-day break in Spain this week has provided the ideal preparation to maintain their Wembley dreams.
The party landed back at Heathrow last night and he said: 'It has not been a holiday. The players were there to train.
'It was all about getting away from the training ground. You go through the same routine day in, day out and you need a break.
'Aston Villa were over there this week and also Dynamo Kiev, who have spent the last three weeks in Spain. Bayern Munich were there as well last week.
'The pitches at home have been heavy. Although it was surprisingly cold in Malaga there were five good pitches there which was just what we needed.'
Redknapp added: 'About the same time last last year we went to Dubai for a break and came back and had a fantastic run of results against Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle.'
Spirits are certainly high among the Pompey squad with key defender Sylvain Distin fit again after missing two games through hamstring trouble, and striker David Nugent training again after a hernia operation. Nugent will be desperate to be involved against his old club on Sunday after a lean spell at Fratton Park.
Injured Noe Pamarot (knee) will be replaced in defence by either Aubey, on loan from French clubs Lens, or Icelander Hermann Hreidarsson switching from centre-half to left-back.
New signing Jermain Defoe is cup-tied, leaving Nugent, Kanu and Milan Baros to fight for two places up front.