Grant: Pride will keep players focused

Avram Grant has claimed his players remain focused on beating Burnley on Saturday despite having to wait another week for their November wages.

Portsmouth‘s players are normally paid by the last working day of the month, but the cash did not arrive in their bank accounts last Monday.

Grant confirmed the Fratton Park outfit paid their stars 25% of their wages on Friday, but added they would have to wait until next Friday for the remaining 75%

This is the second time this season Portsmouth‘s players have had their monthly salaries delayed, after they were forced to wait for their September cash when former owner Sulaiman Al-Fahim failed to pay.

Current owner Ali Al-Faraj stepped in, promising to refinance the club but director of communications Gary Double confirmed Pompey were taking out a bank loan to cover the outstanding wages.

Double also revealed the club’s refinancing should be complete by the end of the month.

Professional Footballers Association representative Nick Cusack met with the club’s director of finance, Tanya Robbins, before speaking to Linvoy Primus, David James, captain Michael Brown and PFA representative Hermann Hreidarsson.

The whole squad was then briefed on the situation and Grant, who has also not been paid, understands the concerns within his camp.

But the Israeli has called on his players to remain professional and focus their attention on beating Burnley at Fratton Park on Saturday lunchtime.

He said: “Even if they are not happy about this situation, they are professional. They know we need to win and they don’t want to stay at the bottom of the league.

“They are proud players and no sportsman would want to be in this position – with money or without.”

Grant added: “Everybody isn’t happy about this – not us, not the owner and not the players.

“But we have a game tomorrow and we need to concentrate on the game.

“When the players were informed about this, they were not happy.

“But they were very focused on the game in training and they know what is important. That’s winning the games and we are thinking about this.”

Grant was not aware the problem might arise before he was informed the players had not been paid this week.

But the former Chelsea boss has no regrets about taking charge of the club.

He said: “If there is one thing I don’t like to answer, it’s ‘if’. ‘What will happen if? What will happen if?’ I deal in reality, not if.

“I never regret things I’ve done and I intend to do my job. I’m a football man and I’m trying to deal with the football problems – that’s what’s important.”

Grant added: “I didn’t think it would be like this because even the board didn’t think it would be like this. But I’ve seen many things in football and this is one more.”

Pompey‘s latest crisis raises serious questions over the club’s hopes of strengthening their side in the January transfer window.

The Premier League’s bottom club remain under a transfer embargo, as they still owe money for the signings of Glen Johnson and Lassana Diarra from Chelsea and Arsenal respectively.

While Grant hopes this will be lifted and he will have money for new signings, he denied being concerned about the prospect of not being able to enter the transfer market.

He said: “What I know is that they (the owners) want to make the team stronger in January and for this, you need money.

“We have a game on Saturday. We will have to take this situation day by day to see what happens.

“I prefer to stay optimistic. In January, we can buy players or loan players.

“I’m thinking about Saturday – January is a long time away.”