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Handy For Pompey

By: Stephen Bateman
Date: 02/01/2001

Portsmouth manager Steve Claridge is all set to resume his pursuit of Grimsby defender Peter Handyside, after it emerged today that the Pompey coffers had been boosted by the £450,000 sale of goalkeeper Russell Hoult to West Brom.

Claridge confirmed that he is interested in signing the Scottish defender earlier this season, but hinted that he would not be making any formal move for the 26-year old before the new year, as he told reporters: "We are watching [Handyside], although there will be no bids from this club until January, because the club is losing too much money. We'll re-assess the situation then." Having watched his side draw with Gillingham at the weekend, the Fratton Park boss re-iterated his intentions to bring new faces to the club: "I do need to bring in a couple of new players because I am having to play the same team each week because of injuries - and that's not good enough." With regular defenders Linvoy Primus and Justin Edinburgh carrying injuries, along with the recent retirement of veteran Andy Awford, Handyside is likely to figure prominently on Claridge's New Year shopping list. Mariners boss Lennie Lawrence has been faced with selection problems of a different kind recently, as Handyside, Paul Groves, Richard Smith and Zhang Enhua all compete for two centre-back berths. With youngster Matthew Bloomer also waiting in the wings, it would seem likely that Lawrence would entertain any serious offers for the defender whose contract expires during the summer.

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