Wolves 0 Southampton 0: Redknapp rumours add dash of colour to blank canvas

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The Independent Football

Apart from Harry Redknapp's post-match press conference, this was a colourless occasion. A minute's applause followed by 90 minutes of silence, as one sage put it.

It was all downhill from the moment the George Best tribute ended and fans of Wolves and Southampton got back to mulling over their teams' distinctly ordinary seasons.

Wolves have scored 11 times in 11 home Championship matches and once in five meetings with opponents who have managed 23 in 20 League fixtures. The sides also drew a blank on the opening day and an over-fussy referee helped ensure they failed to deliver an exciting contest.

No club are better qualified than Glenn Hoddle's in the field of chronic under-achievement - and the first half was a dismal reminder of their struggle to penetrate visiting defences.

They improved considerably in the second, when Antti Niemi made several fine saves, even if he needed his crossbar to deny Leon Clarke. Such was the volume of pressure that Southampton, having earlier created the clearer chances, were happy with their 12th draw of 2005-06.

Like their hosts, they are under-strength, but both clubs must be alarmed that the play-offs are the extent of their realistic ambitions.

At least there was Harry, promising fans that he had not been approached about a return to Portsmouth and pointing out that he would be crucified if he expressed an interest. The rumours were persistent enough for Southampton later to issue their own denials through their chairman, Rupert Lowe. If only the game had bounded along at a similar rate.

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Postma; Edwards, Gyepes, Lescott, Naylor; Anderton (Seol, 61), Cameron (Olofinjana, 69), Huddlestone, Kennedy; Ganea (Clarke, 69), Ndah. Substitutes not used: Oakes (gk), Ross.

Southampton (4-4-2): Niemi; Delap, Kenton, Powell, Higginbotham; Belmadi (Fuller, 77), Oakley, Folly, Kosowski (McCann, 67); Walcott (Jones, 89), Ormerod. Substitutes not used: Smith (gk), Hajto.

Referee: P Taylor (Hertfordshire).

Booked: Wolverhampton Ndah, Kennedy. Southampton Kenton.

Man of the match: Niemi.

Attendance: 24,628.

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