Date: 20th September 2008 at 3:20pm
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Most of us were not expecting to see Niko Kranjcar again until the end near the end of the year, if we even did again before Christmas by the time he recovered and got fit, but Harry Redknapp is hopeful that he will be back sooner than expected, much sooner in fact!

He has told The News that he could return next month: ‘Niko is coming back shortly. He’s another terrific player for us.

‘He’ll be out for a few more weeks yet, but when he comes back he’s another real talent. It will be nice to have the option of him in our side.

‘He’s coming on well.’

The Croatian has had surgery on his damaged ankle ligaments and is now back working in the gym and swimming as he steps up his recovery – he will be off his crutches next week as well!

If we carry on playing like we have been recently, and more to the point Armand Traore and Nadir Belhadj carry on down the left hand side of the pitch like they are then by rights Kranjcar should not, and will not get back in in that role – that could see him switched to the right, which ironically is now our problem area, when for so long it was the left that was!

In a 3-5-2 formation I reckon the fella is ideally suited to play a free role in the middle of the park, and if he did then we will have some genuine creative influence through the middle with another genuine goal threat. I – and many others – have always said that a free role would be his best position with us, so there could be a good chance of him playing in this role fairly soon?

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Other injured players include Jerome Thomas – his back injury will be looked at by a specialist on Monday, Ben Sahar – gashed knee, which is a shame as I would like to see the fella, Lauren – knee, although his chances are looking like being bleak, even more so after seeing him left our of our uefa cup squad, Richard Hughes – shin, but again he is not likely to get much of a look-in is he and Richard Duffy – groin, who if he plays a single minute of 1st team football again for Pompey it would be because we are playing the smallest of small clubs or we are crippled with injuries beyond belief that we have no other option!

All of these are definitely out of contention for Citeh tomorrow, but could all be available in the coming weeks – although I would have more chance of being called on than some of these I reckon…

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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