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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 9, 2008

James hopes to prove fitness for Cup Final

Portsmouth's England goalkeeper David James will plead with manager Harry Redknapp for the chance to prove his FA Cup final fitness in the last Premier League game of the season against Fulham on Sunday.

But even James admits the decision has got to rest with his boss - who is likely to reject his appeal.

It will not, of course, mean certain Wembley heartbreak for James, though. Redknapp is just as desperate as the player himself to have his number one between the posts against Cardiff a week on Saturday.

Pompey lost both of the games which James missed with a calf injury and he admits: 'I want to play against Fulham and I want to win but I also have to have a consultation with the gaffer.'

A scan earlier this week showed James' injury had healed but he accepts: 'I've been out for a couple of weeks and so the last thing I want to do when I'm not 100% is damage myself for the sake of it.

'I want to help get what we can out of the game against Fulham and look forward to the cup final on a high.

'But the cup final is a big game - and I'm aware that if you start overloading it you are always going to be susceptible to more injuries.'

Redknapp warned James as soon as the full extent of the injury was known: 'If you take your time and take the proper treatment there will be no problem for the cup final.'

The manager was afraid the keeper's natural enthusiasm would work against him and he would try to rush back.

But Pompey have only pride to play for against Fulham - who must win at practically all costs at Fratton Park to escape relegation.

And Redknapp has a fine and reliable reserve keeper in Jamie Ashdown.