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Grant cools talk of Kaboul exiting Pompey

Avram Grant has played down fresh speculation linking Younes Kaboul with a move away from cash-strapped Portsmouth after he played no part in the club's FA Cup third-round replay away to Coventry City last night.

The centre-back, 24, was missing from Pompey's squad at the Ricoh Arena as Aaron Mokoena secured a dramatic 2-1 extra-time victory for the visitors with virtually the last touch of the ball.

Kaboul is arguably the club's main asset when it comes to wiping some of the estimated £60m debt.

Sunderland and Lens are the latest sides to be linked with a move for the £7m-rated ex-Tottenham man. Steve Bruce is reported to have yesterday had a bid rejected by the Fratton Park club.

But with talk intensifying as to why Kaboul was absent at the Ricoh Arena, Grant insists it was down to a toe infection. "He couldn't play, he was injured," said the Pompey boss. "Younes was injured, for him to play two games in four days is not good. But I think he will be available for Saturday."

Grant was only able to name six substitutes as opposed to the permitted seven, and he added: "One of them was a player from the academy, but you know the problems we have at the club. I want to speak about the players that were here and not about the problems."

Meanwhile, the south coast outfit are expected to find out in the next 24 hours whether they have been successful in their attempts to lift their transfer embargo.