Hart urges Distin to stay
Portsmouth boss Paul Hart has called on club captain Sylvain Distin to stay at Fratton Park after admitting the Frenchman is seeking a move. The Pompey skipper sat out the club's 4-1 Carling Cup triumph over Hereford after sustaining a knock to his foot.
Distin has been linked with a move to Aston Villa, but Hart is hopeful he can retain his defensive linchpin. He said: "We've had a conversation and he has expressed that desire (to leave).
"He's a great player, a great fellow and a wonderful captain. Sylvain didn't play against Hereford because he was injured. He got a kick on his foot. We desperately want him to stay."
Despite Distin seeking an exit and the club's takeover saga remaining unresolved, Hart's charges finally gave their supporters reason to be cheerful. Striker Frederic Piquionne spearheaded the Pompey attack and opened the scoring after 20 minutes.
He set up John Utaka for the second three minutes later before Niko Kranjcar and Richard Hughes netted either side of half-time to secure Pompey's passage. Piquionne was replaced by Kanu midway through the second half to a standing ovation from the Fratton Park fans.
While Hart admits Piquionne is still short of fitness, he was impressed by the Lyon loanee's efforts against the Bulls. He said: "Frederic has done very well. We thought we knew what pre-season he had done and that he had played four games before he came over here.
"But we're not exactly sure what a French pre-season is. I think he has a bit to come in terms of his match fitness and his fitness for the Premier League. It was a big step for him to come into this league. He is probably going to have to change his game slightly but he has done really well."
While some Premier League bosses opt to rest their leading stars for the Carling Cup, Hart had no intention of going easy on Hereford. With his charges pointless from three league games, he is determined to bring success to the club in this competition.
He said: "We went about it in an extremely professional manner and we scored goals. I've said all along that these games are important - the Carling Cup is extremely important. We'll continue to take it seriously and I think it was proved how serious we are taking it."
Hereford boss John Trewick admits his League Two side were unable to get into their stride, and suspects nerves may have played their part in the outcome. He said: "We never got off the ground really with our passing and some of our players looked a bit nervous.
"Possibly some of them looked around the pitch at some of the names and faces and didn't quite have enough belief to get at them. It was disappointing - we lost our shape a little bit as well in the centre of the pitch.