First test for 'inspirational' Redknapp

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The Independent Online

Redknapp starts his second spell at Fratton Park after a year at rivals Southampton, with Pompey second from bottom ahead of the match at White Hart Lane tonight.

Although Redknapp has not had much time with his players, Stefanovic insists the appointment will inspire his team-mates. Stefanovic said: "You will see a big difference out there on the pitch. Harry has been back only 48 hours but you can see the players' attitudes change. It is a tough task but they want to do well for Harry. He gets the atmosphere going here and we all want to play for him. We can still stay up. Another six or seven points before the end of the year will give us belief."

The new manager admits he is unfamiliar with the Pompey squad after a year at St Mary's, which means he could start with Vincent Pericard, the striker he bought from Juventus during his first spell at the club.

"I don't know half the players at the club. I left them with a great team, one destined for the top eight," Redknapp said. "I'm still amazed at how much it has changed in a year."

Pericard has been brought back early from a loan spell with Sheffield United and could start up front alongside Lomana LuaLua.

Pericard, the Cameroon forward, was an unused substitute in the Blades' 3-0 win over Burnley on Saturday, and said: "I spoke to Harry and he wants me back. It feels great. I'm looking forward to being in the starting XI like I was for him before my injuries. I'm going to show that you don't have to be Superman to put the ball in the net. It is not that hard. I've been managing it with Sheffield United."

Another Redknapp signing, Senegal midfielder Aliou Cissé, is also back in the squad. "I don't know if I'll be playing but I know I'm going to be treated like an adult by Harry," Cissé said. "I didn't play every game for him before but when I was needed I got a chance and that's more than happened with Alain Perrin."

Svetoslav Todorov, fit after a knee injury, could also play a role. "I need to field a team that will go out and steam into teams for me," Redknapp said. "If you can give me a goalless draw at Tottenham I would take it but we must make Fratton Park a fortress again in the next few home games.

"We can add players in the January transfer window, but the chairman might take the view we are cut adrift and decide it is not even worth spending."

For Spurs Wayne Routledge is hoping to make his comeback. The winger broke a bone in his foot against Pompey in the opening-day win at Fratton Park. But Spurs have one injury worry and that is Jermain Defoe's hamstring problem. He will have a late fitness test but it is expected he will be on the bench with Mido and Robbie Keane up front.

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