Pompey set for double swoop

PORTSMOUTH want old boys Benjani and Gary O'Neil back at Fratton Park once their cash-crisis eases in January.

The Carling Cup quarter-finalists, now emerging from a troubled season off the field, remain confident that a transfer embargo placed on them last month by the Football League will be lifted soon.

Once that happens, the club will move quickly to reinforce the squad in order as they continue to fight relegation.

Director of Football Avram Grant is expected to start work next week on recruiting new players.

The Israeli is not allowed to officially start work until next week because he has still not yet received a work permit - despite already working in this country at Portsmouth previously and Chelsea.


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But once the club manage to cut through the red tape, Grant is expected to step up his attempts to bolster Portsmouth's frontline with the freescoring Aruna Dindane expected to join his Ivory Coast strike partner Didier Drogba at the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

Manchester City's Benjani, 31, will be available as Zimbabwe have not qualified for the tournament while Middlesbrough's O'Neil remains a favourite at Fratton Park.

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The 26-year-old was heavily linked with a move back the south coast in the summer but Pompey did not have the cash to fund the move.

They could now face stiff competition for the player with Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn and Birmingham all keen to bring him back to the Premier League.

Fulham are also interested and can even offer O'Neil European football.

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