Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, admits he is torn between resting players to help his side's efforts to climb up the Premier League table and pursuing FA Cup glory.
Spurs face Wigan at White Hart Lane tonight in the third round of the Cup, but Redknapp has other concerns, such as next week's Carling Cup semi-final first leg against Burnley and, most importantly, Spurs' continuing struggles in the league.
Redknapp will also be busy this month attempting to bolster his squad, with a bid on the table for the Portsmouth striker Jermain Defoe, and interest confirmed in Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing and the West Ham forward Craig Bellamy.
"There are lots of games, too many in all honesty," Redknapp said. "They are coming thick and fast and there is not time to get your breath. With a squad of this size, we're fighting on too many fronts. If we were sitting in the top half maybe we wouldn't be bothered, but when you are where we are you could do without all these games."
Facing Burnley then Wigan again in the league at the JJB Stadium may be more important, but Redknapp won the FA Cup with Portsmouth last season. "I hate to say that we could do without it because I've always put my best teams out and had a go," he said. "I'd rather have a run in this than the Uefa Cup – there are so many games left in that. The Carling Cup is very important, but the most important thing is the league. "
Lifting the trophy with Pompey was Redknapp's first trip to Wembley as a manager. "We loved every minute of it and to bring the Cup back to Portsmouth was something special," he said. It would be lovely to win the FA Cup this year. Most important of all, we're still scrapping away for league points. It would be lovely to have a little Cup run and I think this side has a chance. We're looking forward to doing our best and giving it a real go."
With other fixtures on the horizon, the Spurs captain, Ledley King, will be rested against Wigan. "Burnley or Wigan in the league is possibly his priority," Redknapp said. "He won't play Friday." Jermaine Jenas is a doubt with a calf complaint, while Tom Huddlestone's ankle means he is on the sidelines with Alan Hutton.
Wigan will be without the England striker Emile Heskey (hamstring) and goalkeeper Chris Kirkland (groin) through injury, while Lee Cattermole is suspended.Reuse content