Utaka - I'm not to blame

Nigerian forward blasts 'untrue' contract rumours

Utaka: Denies blame

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Portsmouth striker John Utaka has hit out at claims that he is partly to blame for the club's current financial turmoil.

With the South Coast side's future uncertain, and threats of administration looming large, it has been reported that Utaka is on an £80,000-a-week contract.

Pompey's financial plight does not appear to be improving and they are currently rock-bottom of the Premier League with just 16 points from 25 games.

However, Nigerian Utaka, who was brought to Fratton Park for £7million by Harry Redknapp in 2007, insists the club's current problems are not his fault.

"Some people look at you and think 'he's on £80,000 and the club is having big financial problems'. It's not my fault," he said.

"So I want to take this opportunity to clear up some false speculation about what's going on for over a month now.

"I have read that I earn £80,000 per week and I just want to say that it's untrue. I earn about a third of that just to clarify that.

"People should understand that because some people judge players for the wrong reasons.

"I don't know what the person who wrote the story was trying to do. I don't know who he was trying to impress.

"I thought it was a joke at the beginning, then maybe a mistake. But you see a lot of newspapers writing about you.

"I would gladly like to earn that much, but when I'm not I need to tell people the truth."

Boost

Meanwhile, Pompey have been handed a boost ahead of their game against Stoke at the weekend, with the news that Michael Brown has returned to training.

First-team coach Paul Groves told The News: "Michael was able to get a training session under his belt yesterday (Tuesday) and that is a big plus for us.

"Whether he can play on Saturday depends on how he reacts to the training sessions bearing in mind he's had a back injury.

"Sometimes the reaction the next day is a little bit of stiffness, which may slow his progress.

"But Michael is certainly somebody who has a big desire to play and a big desire to train. So you just never know."