O'Hara moves into final reckoning for Tottenham

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The Independent Online

Harry Redknapp has selection dilemmas ahead of the Carling Cup final after Jamie O'Hara forced himself into the Tottenham manager's plans last night.

O'Hara, returning from a hip injury, put in a box-to-box performance against Shakhtar Donetsk as Spurs drew 1-1 at White Hart Lane and went out of the Uefa Cup 3-1 on aggregate.

After being reduced to tears by being left out of last season's cup-final squad, O'Hara will compete with David Bentley for a place in midfield against Manchester United on Sunday if there is no reaction to his injury.

"Jamie has been unlucky - he's had an injury or he would have been in my team," Redknapp said.

"He was top class against Shakhtar. He can play wide or inside and he is in my plans. He is a fantastic boy as well, you'd have him in your side any day of the week."

Apart from goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, Redknapp rested the other players who will definitely start at Wembley and he will need to monitor Roman Pavlyuchenko's groin complaint.

Redknapp defended himself for not having senior players on the bench after Giovani dos Santos' stunning strike put Spurs within sight of extra-time in the last-32 clash.

"(Aston Villa manager) Martin O'Neill has left nine of his best 11 behind and I didn't hear anybody slagging him off," he added.

"They said I was out of order for not picking my best team - well, it'll be interesting to see what they say now he's left nine out."

As they chased the game, Fernandinho grabbed a late goal to seal Shakhtar's aggregate win.

O'Hara told Sky Sports: "We were disappointed that we didn't come away with the win.

"At half-time we thought we could score two or three and not even take it to extra-time.

"We had great chances in the first half, we did fantastically. We created a lot of chances and were just unlucky."

Spurs also had a huge shout for a penalty when Fraizer Campbell went over in the box.

"Out there they looked like a penalty but sometimes you get them and sometimes you don't," O'Hara added.

Redknapp praised Jonathan Obika, who almost grabbed a goal in his first start for the club.

"He was happy, apart from when I called him John Ukata," Redknapp said. "Other than that he was fine.

"He should be well pleased with his night's work - he's worked his socks off. He's raw, he has strength and a lot to learn but he's game and had a real go."

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