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ESPN3 12:00 AM UTC Oct 22, 2017
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By ESPN Staff

Paul Hart: Pompey will overcome latest setback

Portsmouth manager Paul Hart is frustrated by the transfer ban which stopped him signing free agent Eugen Bopp.

Pompey have been barred from recruiting players by the Premier League until they settle outstanding debts to Arsenal and Chelsea for the signings of Lassana Diarra and Glen Johnson respectively.

Hart was made aware of the embargo only when he attempted to bring in former Nottingham Forest midfielder Bopp before his club's Carling Cup win over Stoke this week.

The manager is still keen to draft in Bopp once the ban has been lifted but knows Pompey's latest spot of bother must be sorted out first.

He said: "It is disappointing. These problems are here to be overcome, and I think we will overcome them. I found out on Tuesday morning - but I dealt with it. I'm led to believe this will be resolved.''

With the team bottom of the Premier League table on four points, there is no doubt Hart will want to enter the January transfer market to strengthen his resources.

But the former Nottingham Forest boss said: "I think what we're waiting for now is all this to settle down and the investors to be settled in. Then we'll reassess our situation. That's what we're waiting for - and that's what needs to happen.''

Hart is no newcomer to crisis clubs, having led Forest through difficult financial times in 2001. With another eight years' experience under his belt since then, he believes he has never been better equipped to weather the storm hanging over Fratton Park.

He joked: "I think it's nice to wake up in the morning and see if there is something else happening. It sort of breaks the day up. I'm 56 now - so it's not like I haven't been in a crisis before or everything has been hunky-dory right through my management career. But now I feel I'm probably in a better place to be able to cope with things.

"I'm not saying it doesn't concern me - I'm concerned about our football club. But there are priorities, and I'm probably better able to prioritise than a few years back.''

Victory at home to Wigan on Saturday afternoon could be enough to lift Portsmouth off the bottom of the table - and Hart cannot fault his team's commitment so far.

"I would never criticise the players - they have given everything, and the training sessions have been fantastic,'' he said. "They keep me going and have been absolutely brilliant. I have massive respect for them and the way they go about their jobs.

"What we've got to do and what they deserve for their performances is to get off the bottom and give everyone a bigger lift. That was a massive performance (against Stoke) on Tuesday night - and we've had massive performances, where we've got nothing. We need to turn these performances into wins and get off the bottom. That would be a massive psychological lift in itself.''


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