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Utaka vows to play in Championship with Pompey

Super Eagles winger, John Utaka has declared that he wants to stay with relegated Portsmouth.Utaka, who is among the 44 players who have been pencilled down for a World Cup meeting by coach Lars Lagerback, says that he has nothing against playing in the English Championship.

•Utaka

Utaka hopes his goal against Wolves at the weekend will convince manager Avram Grant to give him a starting place at Wembley, and he is also open to remaining at Fratton Park next term.

“It is not up to me to say whether I have done enough to play in the FA Cup Final. It is up to the manager to decide,” he said.

“But yes, it would be nice if Avram and I were still here at the club next season”, added Utaka,
Utaka gave another tantalising glimpse of his undoubted ability and declared: That’s what I can do as a striker.

The enigmatic Nigerian struck his fourth goal of the campaign – but his first in the Premier League – with a sharp turn and crisp left-footed strike to put Pompey 2-1 up in the 3-1 success over Wolves in the club’s final home game of the season.

But having spent so much of his Blues career used as a wide player, Utaka believes he would have scored more goals if he’d been given the chance to play up front more often.

Utaka said: ‘I feel more comfortable up there.‘You have got options when you play as centre-forward – you can go left or right.

‘But when you play wide, if you go into the middle, it leaves the other side open. It’s not really my best position. ‘The most important thing is to do well when I get my opportunity.‘I don’t often shoot with my left foot but I just gave it a go and it went in.’

While Utaka still divides opinion among the fans over his ability and workrate, on his day he has proved that he can be a real handful for defenders.

And while he appears to be playing with more freedom and belief, he insists that his confidence has never been affected.

And he also feels that the victory against Wolves has given the team hope ahead of the FA Cup final on May 15.
He said: ‘I am always confident but the only thing that has happened is that I have been given an opportunity.

‘It was a good result and a good way to keep everybody happy. ‘It gives people hope that we can do it in the cup final.
‘The reception from the fans was brilliant.

‘It’s a way to show our appreciation as well for the way they have helped us and supported us this season.
‘Now we will take it step by step.

‘We have one game left in the Premier League and then the FA Cup final.‘It was a very good way to sign off. We had to give the fans the kind of show that they deserved.‘They have been there during the good times and the bad times.’


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