Nations Cup worries Pompey

NEWCASTLE - Harry Redknapp fears the African Nations Cup could wreck Portsmouth's European ambitions after his side's impressive 4-1 victory over Newcastle strengthened their top four credentials.

NEWCASTLE - Harry Redknapp fears the African Nations Cup could wreck Portsmouth's European ambitions after his side's impressive 4-1 victory over Newcastle strengthened their top four credentials.

Redknapp acknowledged that Portsmouth's challenge would be affected more than most of their Premier League rivals by the tournament early next year, when several key players will be missing for up to a month.

The Fratton Park boss had four African players in his starting line-up and two more on the bench at St James' Park on Saturday.

The prospect of losing the likes of Ghana's Sulley Muntari, Senegal's Papa Bouba Diop and Nigeria's John Utaka fills Redknapp with dread.

He said: "We're a big, strong imposing team with ability and a bit of pace but we'll lose four or five players for the Nations Cup and that will leave us short.

"I only hope this result doesn't mean people are taking notice of us now."

A Uefa Cup place is well within Portsmouth's grasp but Redknapp played down any chance of challenging for a Champions League place despite a win that stretched their unbeaten league run to seven games.

It was Portsmouth's fifth consecutive away win, which ended a 58-year wait for a victory at St James' Park.

It keeps Portsmouth among the early season front-runners, but Redknapp insists he's more interested in reaching the 40-point safety mark than dreaming of European football coming to Fratton Park.

Benjamin Mwaruwari added to his new-found reputation as one of the Premier League's most deadly finishers as Portsmouth tore sorry Newcastle apart. - Sapa-AFP

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