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Byline: By MARTIN LIPTON Chief Football Writer

NEW Portsmouth manager Tony Adams has told his wantaway stars that they are free to leave the south coast club in January.

Adams was appointed as the Fratton Park chief yesterday, just over 48 hours after former boss Harry Redknapp departed for Tottenham.

And Redknapp has hinted he will be in the market for Pompey players Lassana Diarra, Jermain Defoe and Sylvain Distin when the transfer window re-opens on January 1. Yet Adams declared: "None of them have come to me and said they want to leave - but if they do and want to go I will let them go.

"I want players who want to play for Portsmouth.

"If I was the manager at Arsenal one day and somebody came to me and said, 'I do not want to play for Arsenal' I would still say I would let them go.

"That is 100 per cent, that is crystal clear, because if they do not want to play for Portsmouth it does no good in the long run.

"We have some very good players at this football club and it is my job to keep them here - and at the moment they are responding.

"I am very pleased other managers want some of the players we have here.

"But I am sure that Harry is not the only one, if he does I will fight him all the way."

Adams has agreed a two-and-a-half year contract at Fratton Park, four years after he left his last managerial job at lowly Wycombe citing personal reasons.

The former England and Arsenal defender had a torrid 12 months with the Chairboys, as the club were relegated into League Two with Adams having to sell off his best players to slash the wage bill.

And Adams, who joined Pompey as Redknapp's assistant in June 2006, welcomed the chance to take charge again.

He added: "I am one of those annoying people who keep getting back up.

"It feels the right time and I have been looking around for the past few months.

"I have grafted for the last two-and-a-half years and always wanted the chance to be a No.1 again.

"I would have hated to be sat at home and seen the guys give the job to someone else."


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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 29, 2008
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