Pompey grateful for support
Paul Groves expressed the club's gratitude for the support of the fans during their 2-1 win over Sunderland.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 23/01/10 6:28pm
Portsmouth first-team coach Paul Groves expressed the club's gratitude for the support of the fans during their 2-1 FA Cup fourth-round win over Sunderland.
A well-attended protest was staged by supporters prior to Saturday's game amid the uncertainty surrounding the cash-strapped team's future.
And during the game a number of fans entered the field of play as to demonstrate their frustration at what is felt by some as a lack of communication from Portsmouth's hierarchy over the current situation.
Nonetheless, the mood was a buoyant one come the final whistle at Fratton Park, which was attended by just 10,315, after a brace from John Utaka helped cancel out Darren Bent's opener.
Groves, who attended the post-match press conference instead of manager Avram Grant, praised Pompey's display while also singling out the role of the home fans.
He said: "It was a fantastic spirit from the players. What they showed on that pitch was a great togetherness, and we have come away with a great result with good reward for it.
"Also, credit to the fans and the way they got behind them. They showed their frustrations, but once they got into the stadium they got behind the players, it was fantastic.
"Definitely (the fans really helped us through), they played a massive part there to day. It really helped."
Groves went on to hail goalscoring hero Utaka, adding: "With the ability that John's got, he is a handful. He showed that on a number of occasions.
"When he plays like that he is very, very difficult to play against. He is a big asset for us."
Groves was also quizzed on the absent goalkeeper David James, whose future is the subject of conjecture amid claims he is set to join Stoke.
He said: "David was around and has been around. As far as I am aware, David is still here."