Pompey 2 Wigan 0

THEY were eight minutes which threaten to unravel all those best-laid FA Cup plans.

True, it was an efficient Pompey performance against Wigan. Another win, another step inside the top six.

Even a club record was broken in front of a Fratton faithful disappointingly low in numbers.

But injuries to Hermann Hreidarsson and John Utaka ultimately overshadowed all those impressive accomplishments.

And the aftershock could be catastrophic in terms of winning the FA Cup.

No question about it, as key components of Harry Redknapp's side, both are in line to start against West Bromwich Albion in just five days' time.

The concern is actually whether both will be able to after limping out of action in the second half against Wigan.

Admittedly, afterwards Redknapp's poker face didn't betray any worries he may have harboured.

He laughed and joked through the traditional post-match press conference, even summoning the energy to marvel at yet another sensational Ronaldo strike replayed on live television in front of him.

Apparently, Hreidarsson and Utaka are fine. It will take more than stitches and a pulled hamstring respectively, to keep those two away from Wembley.

Meanwhile, the limping Niko Kranjcar allegedly had nothing more than a minor knock and will also be okay.

Time will tell if the Blues boss is keeping his cards close to his chest or is genuinely optimistic.

Yet, the possible demise of such crucial players should certainly sound the alarm among Pompey fans dreaming of a first Wembley victory for 69 years.

Hreidarsson was certainly not in upbeat mood after collapsing to the floor in anguish in the 63rd minute following an aerial challenge with Marcus Bent.

The Icelandic international pummelled the ground with the ferocity of a hungry gorilla deprived of a banana at feeding time as medical assistance rode to the rescue.

After being helped off the pitch, it was straight down the tunnel for three stitches in a hole in his Achilles created by a stay stud from Bent's rather decorative boots.

As for Utaka, eight minutes later he crumpled to the floor safely out of range from both ball and opposing player.

Enjoying one of his more productive days, the Nigerian winger had earlier been instrumental in creating Jermain Defoe's opener and generally shone in his attacking approach.

It made his premature departure even sadder, hobbling off the field burdened with a tight hamstring and his own fears of missing out next Saturday.

Of course, Wigan was another important victory in the drive to finish in the top six, or even achieve the unthinkable and catch Everton up in fifth.

But for Harry and the fans, it is Wembley which counts and anything which could derail that objective must be treated with apprehension.

At least the missing Lassana Diarra is expected to play against West Brom, as is the rested Kanu.

But the jury remains out on whether Hreidarsson and Utaka can recover sufficiently enough over the next five days.

Their demise soured a Fratton Park day light on glorious weather and breathtaking football but heavy on humour.

The second lowest league home attendance of the season was a true reflection of where many people's focus lies at the moment.

The football on show was nothing more than a side issue and, interestingly, even in Wigan's most dangerous moment, the Pompey fans didn't choose to vent their frustration.

It was all about Wembley, little wonder the word dominated most of the proceedings, regardless of what unfolded on the pitch.

Chants of 'Sacha's Going To Wembley' was followed by a rendition of 'Harry's Going To Wembley' and then, of course, the inevitable 'We're All Going To Wembley'.

Even the final whistle was met with airplay time of 'Que Sera Sera' over the Tannoy system.

As for Ticketmaster, well in the past fortnight they have done for tickets what Heathrow's Terminal Five has done for holidays.

Yet, fans couldn't resist a playful swipe at the much-maligned ticketing company, in one rendition telling them just where to stick their tickets.

It was indicative of a light-hearted atmosphere at Fratton Park, even before the hosts had finally managed to get their noses in front.

There had been a few scares as well before Defoe's crucial 32nd-minute opener.

When Emile Heskey rolled the ball into the path of Antonio Valencia, the right-sided midfielder drove in an angled effort which seemed destined for the far corner.

That was until Glen Johnson popped up with a lunge which somehow managed to deflect the ball onto the bar and it bounced to safety.

But it was to be Redknapp's men who took the lead on 32 minutes. Utaka embarked on a powerful run into the box and when his shot ricocheted off Paul Scharner, Defoe was there at the far post to finish from an improbable angle.

It created a club record for the striker, becoming the first Blues player to net in his first five Fratton Park league games.

The 25-year-old marked the occasion by paying tribute to his grandmother who died earlier in the week, taking off his shirt to reveal a message which ultimately earned him a yellow card.

Barely 60 seconds later, Kranjcar's fierce drive was brilliantly clawed away by Chris Kirkland to prevent the lead from doubling.

Wigan's best chance of claiming scoring parity was in the 61st minute when Sylvain Distin was rather harshly adjudged to have tripped Antonio Valencia for the penalty.

Fortunately for Pompey, they had James in goal and he produced a magnificent stop with his right hand to deny Taylor – and then watched relieved as the midfielder put the follow-up into the Milton end.

The hosts were then hit by injury as firstly Hreidarsson and then Utaka limped off.

By the time Kranjcar also received a late knock after a Skoko challenge, all three substitutes had already been used. Still, Defoe put the icing on the cake in stoppage time, staying on-side to collect Kranjcar's pass to confidently finish.

It took his tally to eight goals in seven games since his arrival, yet crucially he's cup-tied for Wembley.

Pompey will be just hoping Hreidarsson and Utaka won't be joining him on the sidelines.