Redknapp fears defensive 'disaster'

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The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp admits January could be a "disaster" month for Tottenham as he braces the club for the loss of two key defenders to the African Nations Cup.

Redknapp has been unable to field his first-choice centre-half pairing for most of this season as Jonathan Woodgate has struggled with a groin injury while Ledley King's long-term knee problem shows no sign of abating.

Michael Dawson and Sebastien Bassong have performed admirably in the absence of the England duo but Redknapp could lose Bassong and Benoit Assou-Ekotto for the whole of January, as they will be representing Cameroon in the African Nations Cup.

"It's a disaster really, a disaster for us losing a couple of players," Redknapp said.

"When you sign them I guess you know you're going to lose them every couple of years playing in those games. It's a chance you take.

"We'll be OK at left-back. Gareth Bale's training great and looking OK, doing well. But we've got a problem obviously at centre-half if one of the other two boys don't get fit - if Ledley or Woody don't get fit. That is a problem."

Redknapp would be without Bassong and Assou-Ekotto throughout the whole of January should Cameroon live up to their billing as one of the favourites for the competition and reach the final.

Redknapp admits he "doesn't have a clue" when King or Woodgate, who has played only three times this term, will play again.

The Spurs boss is adamant he will not enter the transfer market for a new centre half should Woodgate and King continue to struggle in their recovery from injury though.

"I've got four centre-halves and if one of the other two comes back we'll be OK," Redknapp said.

"(Vedran) Corluka can play there, Tom (Huddlestone) can play there as well."

Redknapp's side take on one of their main rivals for a place in the top four tonight - big spenders Manchester City.

Despite losing only one league game this season, City are yet to convince most that they will prove to be the first team to crack the monopoly of the 'big four' since Everton beat Liverpool into fourth place in 2005.

Redknapp believes it is only a matter of time though until Hughes brings City their first league title since 1968.

"The men in charge (at City) are mega," the former Portsmouth boss said.

"It's like another planet, they can do what they want, buy who they want. Eventually I think they will win the championship."

Roman Pavlyuchenko and David Bentley will be available despite being left out of Saturday's loss against Wolves.

Both players are said to be disheartened with life at the north London club but Redknapp insists he will not let them go at any price.

"David feels he needs to move on and play," the 62-year-old added.

"Obviously Pav wants to move but we are not mad to sell them. They are not going cheap and are both good players."

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