If ever there was a team desperate to lay their hands on the 2010 FA Cup, then it is Portsmouth.

The stricken south-coast club haven’t had a lot to cheer in recent weeks and are unlikely to pop out the champagne for any reason in the forthcoming months.

That is, however, apart from the FA Cup.

For the 2008 winners, the world’s greatest cup competition remains their only saving grace.

The end of Pompey’s Premier League status edges closer every day, with a points deduction looming after going into administration.

So as FA Cup quarter-final opponents go, Birmingham City couldn’t have it much harder than Avram Grant’s side.

When the Blues step into the lion’s den that is Fratton Park to the sound of their famous chimes for Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off, they will face a Portmouth side willing to fight tooth and nail to secure their die-hard fans a day out at Wembley.

The FA Cup is all about fairytales, and there’ll be none bigger than if Portsmouth go all the way for a second time in three years.

Alex McLeish has already issued an early warning about the dangers posed by Portsmouth this weekend.

The Birmingham manager acknowledged: “We should be going into the game relaxed – but we will be up against dangerous opposition.

“Portsmouth are backed into a corner, they had a great result at the weekend (at Burnley), and have some great players.

“They are on their own patch and, as anyone knows in this league, including the top teams like Manchester United and Chelsea, it is not easy to go away and win.

“The draw could have been worse but it could have been better and we’ve been drawn away in every round this season.”

One look down the Portsmouth squad list also suggests that storylines are waiting to be written.

Quincy Owusu-Abeyie was a winger who showed glimpses of magic during a loan spell at St Andrew’s last season, but not on a consistent basis. The former Arsenal trainee’s temporary stay from Spartak Moscow was then cut short in January 2009 and the Ghana international has since had a somewhat nomadic existence in English football.

Obviously desperate to end his stay in Russia, Owusu-Abeyie has had unsuccessful trials with Tottenham Hotspur and Bristol City, not forgetting an unfruitful loan spell at Cardiff City, since being shown the door at Birmingham.

Now he finds himself at Portsmouth and in resurgent form.

All the hallmarks of a classic cup tie – it’s no wonder that terrestrial television will have their cameras pointed at Fratton Park on Saturday.