Utaka enjoying Pompey life

Striker happy at Fratton Park amid speculation he could leave

Utaka: Happy at Pompey

John Utaka insists he is happy at Portsmouth amid speculation the club could off-load the Nigerian.

There has been speculation that the striker could be on is way out of the financially stricken club, with Pompey said to be keen to rid his reported £80,000-a-week deal from their wage bill.

While French outfit Sochaux are among sides thought to be keen on the player, the 28-year-old, who signed from Rennes for a then £7m club record fee in 2007, would be more than happy to stay.

But he would like regular playing time if he is to push for a place in Nigeria's World Cup squad.

Utaka told the Portsmouth News: "To be honest I don't know anything (about my future).

"I keep going and I will see how it goes. I'll keep working hard and working hard for Pompey. That's why I am here. Then we will see what goes on."

Speculation

He added: "I don't believe in speculation (about leaving). It doesn't matter. I'm a footballer. I have to do what I have come here to do.

"Football is a difficult game, but you always keep going. It's what I love to do. I keep going no matter what.

"I need to be playing, but we will see how it goes. I'm happy. I'm very, very happy to be honest. But we will see what happens."

Utaka's stay at Pompey has at times proved frustrating, with the Nigerian making just 31 Premier League starts in his two-and-a-half years at the club.

He has been played out of position down the right flank a lot of the time, while he also suffered a thigh problem this term.

But the Nigerian believes things are now on the way up, having played six times for Pompey since Avram Grant succeeded Paul Hart.

He was also used as an orthodox striker - where he prefers to play - in the FA Cup replay win at Coventry on Tuesday.

Working hard

Utaka added: "It's a team effort. We've been working hard.

"Every player wants to play and I am the same. I've been waiting for my opportunity.

"I've been sidelined for a month which no player likes. When I get my chance I have to put in my best, as I always do.

"I'm happy that I am at least getting the chance to play. I'm an offensive player. I love playing through the middle.

"But I always enjoy myself. Football is all about enjoying yourself and putting in your best. I do that. I think 2010 is a fresh start."