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Sat, Jul

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SHAKA HISLOP is banking on Portsmouth's mean defence to keep him in manager Harry Redknapp's first-team plans as the pressure begins to mount.

Hislop was an integral part of Portsmouth's impressive march to the First Division title last season, and has continued his sharp form now the Fratton Park side are back in the top flight.

Redknapp insists if Pompey are to stay up he must have three accomplished keepers. So first the shrewd Portsmouth boss signed Harald Wapenaar from Dutch club Utrecht, then on transfer deadline day he snapped up former Newcastle keeper Pavel Srnicek.

Standing in their way is Hislop, 34, who will not give up his spot without a fight.

Hislop kept 15 clean sheets last season and he said: "I thought our defence was outstanding and felt they could do it in the Premiership.

"But the manager decided he wanted new signings and he has his plans to keep us in the Premiership."

The arrival of Croatian skipper Boris Zivkovic and Serbian Dejan Stefanovic has added the steel to Pompey's defence.

In the opening four games Hislop has been beaten only by a penalty from Aston Villa's Gareth Barry and a last-gasp equaliser at Manchester City.

Pompey have been dubbed the Premiership's Dad's Army but Hislop believes the 30-somethings have the experience to maintain their impressive start.

Hislop is particularly impressed with 37-year-old Teddy Sheringham, saying: "You are always delighted when someone of his quality joins the club. There is no doubt he will be a big benefit to us."