Diop hopes to be a new signing

Pompey ace delighted at weekend comeback

Diop: Fit and available for Grant

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Papa Bouba Diop has expressed his delight at making his Portsmouth return in last weekend's 1-1 draw at Sunderland.

The Senegalese midfielder made just his third appearance of 2009 in their last-gasp draw at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

The former Fulham man made two Premier League starts in August, but a hamstring strain has curtailed his availability prior to the weekend.

Diop feels he has overcome his latest knock and can be like a new signing for manager Avram Grant as the club battle against the drop.

The 31-year-old admits he is still lacking match fitness, but insists he is ready to take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge if needed.

New signing

"I'm happy to be back and can bring some power to the team," he told The News. "I could be a new signing, I think. Definitely.

"I was injured for eight months and then I started again - but got injured once more. Now I'm okay, I can go forward and focus on what happens this season.

"I've been having good warm-ups and it feels strong. I know what I need to do. I have been keeping things simple and improving a bit at a time.

"I played 90 minutes in a friendly last week and that helped the machine to start working again.

Ready

"Then there was seven minutes at Sunderland, so now I'm ready for Chelsea and the other games we have coming up.

"I need more games to make myself 100 per cent. It's never easy to come back from injury. You need to work and become stronger. Now I need to look forward.

"It's okay. I've seen doctors and lots of specialists and they think it will be okay. It will be fine for the rest of the season.

"I must admit I was worried for my injury, but now I'm happy and can improve. Now my season starts."