Hart's conscience is clear

Posted Saturday, September 26, 2009 by PA

Portsmouth boss Paul Hart says he does not fear for his job, despite his side's woeful start to their Barclays Premier League campaign.

The south-coast outfit have lost all of their opening six league matches and are currently pointless at the bottom of the table.

Hart is now the bookmakers' favourite to be the next Premier League manager relieved of his duties ahead of his side's home clash with Everton.

But when asked if he felt under pressure, the former Nottingham Forest manager said: "From what? Pressure to get the results - I want to get a result. That's what I'm about.

"What have I got to fear? I know what I do day in, day out and I have no fears about that.

"It's not me that's going to make decisions like that and it's not something I think about every waking hour.

"I'm not an owner. I'm a manager, a coach and that's what my job is."

He added: "There were a number of names touted around that were going to take the manager's job on, but there's only me here.

"I'm still here, I'm still backing the club and I think we can turn it around. I'm the man for the job."

Hart could hand a long-awaited debut to defender Steve Finnan against Everton.

The Irishman has been struggling with a hamstring injury since his move from Espanyol over the summer, but came through a friendly behind closed doors this week.

Hart is still waiting for Papa Bouba Diop and Hermann Hreidarsson to recover from hamstring and foot injuries respectively, while Carling Cup hero Aruna Dindane may not start as he continues his fight for fitness.

Following reports Hart walked out of his Everton pre-match press conference on Thursday lunchtime after tough questions were asked about his future, the club released a statement to deny this.

A spokesman told their official website, www.pompeyfc.co.uk: "Paul did not walk out on the press. He answered all the questions put to him before the conference was halted by the club's director of communications, Gary Double.

"He was then led away to conduct other media interviews as is normal practice.

"Despite the difficult circumstances the club finds itself in, Paul has always carried out his media obligations before and after matches and has never walked out of a press conference or interview."

Everton manager David Moyes will assess the fitness of striker Ayegbeni Yakubu before making a decision on whether to include him in his squad.

The Nigeria international, who missed most of last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, scored in the midweek Carling Cup victory at Hull but came off with a groin problem.

Midfielder Steven Pienaar (foot) and defender Joseph Yobo (hamstring) will also have late fitness tests.

David Moyes has been pleased with the way his new defensive unit appears to be knitting together but expects greater consistency throughout the season.

The side have kept clean sheets in winning their last three matches - in the Europa League, Premier League and Carling Cup.

Sylvain Distin, who joined from Pompey, and Dutchman Jonny Heitinga, brought in from Atletico Madrid, only arrived at the club late on in the transfer window.

The pair seem to have settled well into the back four, which has been depleted by the absence of Phil Jagielka, who is still recovering from a ruptured cruciate knee ligament, and the sale of Joleon Lescott to Manchester City.

However, Moyes believes there is still plenty of hard work to be done to reach the standards he expects after a disappointing start to the season, which has brought only six points from five matches.

"It is getting better and a bit more like us. I know there is more to come; we can play better and we can control games for longer periods," said the Toffees boss.

"I've been happy with the goals we've been scoring but even more happy that we have not been conceding goals.

"I see us defensively improving. We have introduced Sylvain and Jonny to the back four and things don't happen right away, it takes time.

"I know Sylvain has played in the Premier League for many years so it shouldn't be too new to him but it is still not an easy thing.

"I still see it as a considerable step up for Sylvain to come to Everton, while Jonny Heitinga - who has not played in the Premier League before - has now played at right-back and centre-back for us.

"It is going to take time for these boys to get used to us and us to them and there is still a lot of work to do."




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