Pulis ready for tough Pompey test
Portsmouth, crippled by financial worries, are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, but they claimed a morale-boosting 4-1 victory over their bitter rivals Southampton in the FA Cup last weekend. Pulis said: "They looked relaxed and played some good football in the second half. It was as though the shackles were off. "Despite their problems, they still have an enormous squad to call on and they are all seasoned professionals. I am surprised Portsmouth are not doing better. "They are competitive and it will be as hard a game as we will get all season. " Pulis has some sympathy for his managerial counterpart Avram Grant, the former Chelsea boss. "It is difficult for him," he said. "I have been at clubs that have been struggling and right up to the wall. You are living from day to day. "But the players have pulled together and got stronger. They have worked even harder to get the results." Pulis looked poised to bring in Portsmouth goalkeeper David James at one stage during January - and he still believes the veteran is England's finest. The Welshman expects James to maintain his form with the World Cup in South Africa looming on the horizon. Pulis said: "He will want to prove to Fabio Capello he should be on that plane. His main objective is to play well. "I think he is an excellent goalkeeper and on his day is as good as if not better than most in this league."