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Grant fails to attend Portsmouth press conference

Portsmouth boss Avram Grant cancelled his weekly pre-match press conference ahead of the FA Cup tie with Sunderland on Saturday as the club's off-the-field crisis intensified this week.

Grant was due to stage his weekly conference at the club's Eastleigh training base at 1.30pm on Friday, but director of communications Gary Double said "Avram just didn't want to do it".

He added: "He said there is nothing more to add and he has spoken about everything. He knows the questions are all going to be about off-the-field stuff."

Grant is clearly growing increasingly frustrated with being asked the same questions about the club's financial woes.

Meanwhile, talk of veteran goalkeeper David James leaving his bottom-of-the-table side for Stoke will not have gone down well with the former Chelsea boss.

According to BBC Radio Stoke, Pompey were on the verge of agreeing a deal to loan James out for the rest of the season, subject to a medical.

These rumours were rejected by Double, who said: "David is here today (Friday), so I wouldn't have thought so. If a move is subject to a medical, why is he here? He was in training at the club."

Grant made it clear in last week's press conference that he had no intention of parting with the former Liverpool man as the club stands five points adrift of safety in the Premier League table.

He said: "He belongs to the team and I want him to stay in the team. I've heard many clubs want our players but we want to keep our players."

Despite Grant's desire to keep the veteran, James is said to be one of Pompey's top earners. This could force the cash-strapped club to get him off their wage bill, which they have failed to pay on time on three occasions this season.

As if the prospect of one of his key players being sold was not enough, Grant has also been forced to work under a transfer embargo, imposed by the Premier League as Pompey owe money to rival clubs.

According to reports, the Fratton Park outfit have settled their debts with Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham, and have agreed payment plans with French sides Rennes and Lens.

But they failed to have their ban on registering players lifted earlier this week, as they still owe cash to Udinese for the signing of Sully Muntari, with the Italian club planning to go to court to recover the money.

Pompey's financial troubles took another turn for the worse when the High Court rejected their bid to have a winding-up order imposed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs thrown out.

This means the petition will now be heard on February 10, when the club could become the first Premier League team forced into administration.

Another man seeking cash from Pompey is their former skipper Sol Campbell. The man who lifted the FA Cup for the Blues in 2008 issued a writ against them this week for a reported £1.7 million in unpaid image rights and bonuses, which the club intends to fight.

With so many of Pompey's problems related to their seemingly deteriorating financial health, Grant is clearly not the man to answer questions about the club's off-the-field issues.

But should the club be forced to sell members of his team, the Israeli may be asking himself whether he has the resources he needs to keep crisis club Pompey in the top flight.


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