Hart reveals gratitude to Redknapp

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The Independent Online

Portsmouth manager Paul Hart paid tribute to Harry Redknapp for showing faith in him while he was out of work and bringing him to Pompey in March 2007.

Redknapp returns to Fratton Park on Saturday for the first time since he abruptly left to take charge of Tottenham almost a year ago.

Despite leading the club to FA Cup glory and the dizzy heights of eighth spot in the Premier League in 2008, Redknapp is not expected to receive a warm welcome on the south coast.

But Hart admits he is still friends with the man who brought him to the club to oversee Pompey's academy.

He said: "He invited me here when I was out of work.

"I wrote around to Premiership football clubs and said 'without taking anybody's job, if ever a vacancy became available, could you consider me?'.

"I wanted to get back into youth development and Harry got on the phone first.

"I had two other fantastic offers after that and I turned them down because he showed that faith in me. I definitely made the right choice to come here."

While Hart knows there will be an "electric atmosphere" for Redknapp's return, he feels Redknapp left a great legacy at Fratton Park.

He said: "Our crowd doesn't need a lot of encouraging and there will be a bit of spice there I'm sure.

"What we've got to remember is that what has been achieved at this football club over the past two or three years is unprecedented. There's only one fella behind it.

"That was his legacy to us and it's hard for another manager to follow, especially with the change in circumstances at this football club.

"But I think everyone agrees getting to Wembley and Europe was a massive achievement."

Hart still keeps in touch with his old boss, although the two have avoided the touchy subject of their clash this weekend.

"We sort of skirt around that," Hart joked.

The Pompey boss, whose side picked up their first win of the season at Wolves on October 3, added: "I speak to Harry quite regularly.

"After the Wolves game, he rang me straight away and that's what he does. He wants us to do well and he wants me to do well I think."

While many will focus on Redknapp's return to Portsmouth, Hart is determined to keep his side focused on the task of getting their second Premier League win of the season.

The likes of Younes Kaboul and Kevin-Prince Boateng will come up against their old team.

But Hart says the duo have nothing to prove to the Spurs supporters following tough spells at White Hart Lane.

He said: "People like Younes and Kevin have got to know what the bottom line is and that's winning.

"It's not about them and it's not about them proving anything - they don't have to prove anything to anybody. They're extremely good players.

"All we should be thinking about is Portsmouth and what we can achieve.

"I think the atmosphere will be great and it's important we fire into them.

"This is about us and if we get our supporters behind us, that will be the vital thing."

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