Redknapp delighted as Portsmouth rise to early challenges

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The Independent Online

The Portsmouth manager, Harry Redknapp, believes Saturday's Premier League visit of Reading to Fratton Park will provide a crucial benchmark from which he can evaluate his side's start to the new campaign.

Redknapp is delighted with Portsmouth's current form, with Tuesday's 1-0 Carling Cup win at Burnley coming 48 hours after their superb victory at Blackburn. And having already played each of the "big four" in the league, Redknapp believes three points against Steve Coppell's side will complete an encouraging start.

Redknapp said: "If we get a good result on Saturday it will have been a fantastic start to the new season. We've played all the top four sides plus Blackburn away, so it couldn't really have been much tougher.

"But we're not going to win the Championship so the Carling Cup is important to us, because it is one of the two competitions we have a realistic chance of winning. I was delighted with the lads."

Redknapp will have to run the rule over Benjani Mwaruwari ahead of the Reading game, after the Zimbabwe striker tweaked his problematic hamstring in the first half at Turf Moor.

"He's a bit tight but hopefully he's going to be okay for Saturday," said Redknapp. "He's got a tight hamstring and he's been suffering with it for the last few weeks so we will just have to wait and see."

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