Redknapp to delay talk on new contract

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The Independent Online

Harry Redknapp has warned he is not ready to discuss his future at Portsmouth - despite Milan Mandaric, the relegation-threatened club's chairman, having stated that Pompey would offer the manager a new contract for next season whether the team stayed in the Premiership or went down.

There is still a popular theory that the 59-year-old Redknapp will resign at the end of the campaign whatever happens. And Mandaric, 67, has not denied reports that he may sell his remaining 50 per cent share of the club to his co-owner, Alexandre Gaydamak, this summer.

Yet Mandaric and Redknapp both insist that all that occupies their minds are the last two games of the season at Wigan and at home to Liverpool.

Redknapp said: "I have never discussed [my future] with the owners, not with anyone. I'm not interested at this stage. I just want to get this season over and see what happens from there.

"What will be will be. I just want to get on with the job with these last two games of the season. It would be great if we could pull it off."

Two weeks ago Mandaric stated that Redknapp would be offered an extension to his contract which runs out at the end of the season irrespective of whether Pompey were safe from relegation or condemned to contesting Championship football next from August.

The details of the new agreement would be subject to changes covering which division Portsmouth were in. Mandaric claimed that the plan had Gaydamak's full support.

Gaydamak bought half the club with a reported £15m investment in January and also splashed out to assist Redknapp's £12m outlay on nine new players in the last transfer window.

There were then reports, which were hotly denied by Mandaric, that the manager's stuttering start, which brought just two wins in 15 matches had prompted Gaydamak to consider replacing him.

And Mandaric admitted after Saturday's tense win over Sunderland: "It gets more exhausting with every game - too much for an old man."

But he brushed off questions about handing over completely to Gaydamak, saying: "I'm not even thinking about the future, only the next two games. We will see where we are at the end of the season and what we need to do."

Pompey can secure their Premiership place if they win at Wigan on Saturday and Birmingham fail to beat Newcastle at St Andrews. Otherwise, the omens would be hard on Redknapp. A year ago when he was manager at Southampton they had to defeat Manchester United - a team whose next date was the FA Cup final - in the last Premiership game of the season to avoid relegation. Southampton went down.

This season Portsmouth's last match on May 7 is at home to Liverpool who are in the FA Cup final six days later.

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