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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Pompey eye Matt as new skipper

PUBLISHED: 20:00 06 June 2003 | UPDATED: 13:57 03 March 2010

PORTSMOUTH want Matt Holland to lead them into the Premiership.

I understand the current Ipswich skipper is set to be installed as captain at Fratton Park once he completes his £750,000 move.

PORTSMOUTH want Matt Holland to lead them into the Premiership.

I understand the current Ipswich skipper is set to be installed as captain at Fratton Park once he completes his £750,000 move.

That will happen in a week's time when the player heads for the south coast to undergo what should be a routine medical.

With Holland's amazing appearance record in six seasons at Portman Road – he never missed a single league game through injury – that should be a formality.

Prospective new boss Harry Redknapp, delighted with his transfer coup, definitely sees the player as captain material.

A source close to the club said: "Harry wants to assemble a team of leaders, but Matt is his number one choice to lead the team next season."

Pompey are also being linked with two more players who know a thing or two about captaincy.

Bayer Leverkusen's Boris Zivkovic skippers the Croatian national team who are heading for Portman Road and a friendly against England, in August.

And Dejan Stefanovic, in action against England for Serbia and Montenegro in midweek, is the captain of Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem.

There are doubts over the future of ex-England star Paul Merson, who wore the captain's armband with some style in Pompey's promotion campaign.

Even if Merson remains with the club, the veteran midfielder is unlikely to feature anywhere near as regularly as Holland.

The soon-to-be Portsmouth player is currently in Dublin, with his Republic of Ireland colleagues, ahead of tomorrow's European Championship qualifier against Albania.

The Irish squad will stay together until Wednesday, when they take on Georgia in another Euro 2004 group clash and only then will Holland turn his attention elsewhere.

Negotiations between Portsmouth and the player's agent, Jonathan Barnett, are on going – but Redknapp is confident the deal is virtually concluded.

He said: "Matty's away with the national team at the moment but when he comes back we'll have a chat with him. It's all basically done and dusted and tied up with his agent.

"There's just a few bits and pieces to be sorted out. It's basically a case of getting him down for his medical. I know him very well and I'm sure he'll do a good job for us."

Redknapp will be away on holiday next week so Holland and his wife, Paula, will meet Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie to tie up any loose ends.

Then the 29-year-old, who launched his career at West Ham when Redknapp was in charge there, will jet off on holiday tomorrow week with his wife and two young sons.

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