Redknapp rules out Tottenham Christmas party

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The Independent Online

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has ordered his players not to organise a Christmas party - because the time to celebrate will be the end of the season if they stay in the Barclays Premier League top four.

With celebrations during the festive period at the centre of Stoke's dressing-room bust-up last weekend, Redknapp is adamant about his players remaining focused on challenging for a Champions League place.

"Don't have one, that's the only advice I have," Redknapp said. "I don't see the point because they're nothing but aggravation for everybody.

"Everyone's waiting for you to trip up, go out and get drunk or act silly. You don't need that.

"It's a long season and at the end of that, if we are successful and achieve something at Tottenham, they can go and have a party. They can go and enjoy their break in the summer.

"This is a busy period, a working period. Why should we have Christmas parties? Every year there's aggro at every football club that has one."

Robbie Keane has not yet spoken to his manager about organising an evening for the first-team squad at Spurs - and Redknapp does not expect his skipper to be asking for permission.

"I don't think they'd take the liberty to have one without asking first," Redknapp added. "If they tell me they're having a Christmas party I'll tell them they're not having one.

"I want to see them enjoy themselves but not at this time of year. They've got nothing to celebrate.

"They have to maintain their fitness and be prepared for a tough programme coming up - one thing they don't need is to get a load of booze down their neck."

Redknapp's attitude comes from leading his side to fourth place in the table heading into the weekend, with Wolves the next visitors to White Hart Lane.

The good news is Luka Modric being set for a place on the bench after recovering from his fractured fibula suffered in August against Birmingham.

"Luka came through a friendly game and was fine," Redknapp said. "It's a bit early to start him but he'll be involved."

David Bentley is also available, despite Redknapp being upset with the midfielder's attitude during the behind-closed-doors game.

"It wasn't a real bust-up, nothing that would compare with what we are talking about at the other clubs this week," Redknapp said. "I wasn't happy with his performance in the first half of a game and that was it.

"There was no blazing row. I just felt he could have done better than he was doing. It was very mild. I was supposed to have said I will sell him in January. That's absolutely rubbish."

Redknapp may need Bentley during the second half of the season as his squad is small in comparison to other teams challenging for the top four.

His priority is a back-up goalkeeper for Heurelho Gomes and the club is interested in Brazilian prospect Sandro from Internacional.

"I have the same view as the chairman, I'm happy with the squad," Redknapp said. "The only way we would bring someone in was if we sold someone. We are strong in all positions, so we're not really in the market for players."

Against Wolves, Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate will miss out, although neither are expected to be sidelined for long.

"Ledley jarred his knee again," Redknapp said. "It's blown up and swollen up quite badly.

"It was looking great, he'd worked hard for three weeks. He was just short of a game, unfortunately it was a freak accident - the ball hit him in the face and his knee jarred.

"Hopefully he shouldn't be too long. Woodgate the same."

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