Redknapp spurred by old boys brigade

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The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp is facing the type of selection headache all managers crave when his Portsmouth side visit Tottenham today. He takes a squad containing four former Spurs players to White Hart Lane, admitting: "There is so much quality in it. My most difficult job is who to leave out."

Centre-half Sol Campbell is expecting another raw reception on his latest return to the club where he made his name. But the 32-year-old will hope to avoid the welcome he received on his first visit following his controversial move to fierce rivals Arsenal five years ago, when he had bottles thrown at him and was subjected to obscene abuse.

Midfielder Sean Davis is also concerned how he will be greeted despite apologising for speaking out petulantly against the Tottenham coach, Martin Jol, when he, Pedro Mendes and Noe Pamarot left for Pompey last January. Redknapp said: "Sol is experienced enough to know what is coming. He's had it a few times before and, of course, he will get some abuse. So will Sean, and it is his first time going back, but they will cope.

"All I can say is that they have been brilliant here for me. Sean's back to the player he was 18 months ago when an England place was being mentioned and Sol has picked up here where he left off in the European Cup final for Arsenal - just outstanding.

"And they are not on their own. I look out on the training field these days and see 20 top-class professionals, quality players who make it a pleasure to be Portsmouth's manager.

"It is amazing the difference at training from last year when I came back. The squad are a million times better. You have players like Glen Johnson, Andy Cole, David James and Kanu that we have brought in this season, players you can ask to do something and can do it just like that.

"There has not been a disappointing performance all season, even though we were beaten by Bolton last Monday, and we are all up for bouncing back."

Pompey's start saw them race to four wins and a draw in their first five games. Bolton then came to Fratton Park and became the first Premiership side to score against them this campaign.

Now Portsmouth face Spurs, who have scored just twice in the League and struggled past Uefa Cup outsiders Slavia Prague in midweek. Redknapp said: "You do wonder why, when you look at their strikers - Keane, Mido and Defoe - they are not scoring and maybe they will find their touch against us. But we are defending well, playing well and we will keep going."

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