Redknapp is a doubt for Fulham trip after surgery

Spurs manager's heart operation means he may swap the dugout for the directors' box on Sunday.

Rory Smith
Thursday 03 November 2011 01:00 GMT
Spurs’ manager Harry Redknapp said he was fine and hopes to be back at work 'in a couple of days'
Spurs’ manager Harry Redknapp said he was fine and hopes to be back at work 'in a couple of days'

The Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is not expected to appear on the touchline for Sunday's Premier League fixture with Fulham after successfully undergoing minor heart surgery, though the 64-year-old may yet be present at the game.

Redknapp was admitted to hospital on Tuesday night for tests after he started feeling unwell and had two stents inserted to unblock his coronary arteries during an operation yesterday afternoon. He is due to be discharged in the next 48 hours, meaning he will miss his side's Europa League fixture with Russian side Rubin Kazan this evening and casting doubt over his attendance for Spurs' visit to Craven Cottage.

In his absence, assistant manager Kevin Bond and first-team coach Joe Jordan will take charge of the team for tonight's game.

The former Portsmouth and West Ham manager remains upbeat, insisting that he is "absolutely fine" and hopes he "can be back at work again in a couple of days", but sources close to Redknapp yesterday suggested an appearance in Fulham's directors' box may be more realistic for this weekend.

Writing in his national newspaper column yesterday, Redknapp revealed he has been taking heart medication for a year and admitted the nature of his job is such that even "the most mild-mannered of people explode, as when you are sitting on the bench you get eaten up inside from first to last whistle".

Under such circumstances, it is little wonder the Spurs chairman Daniel Levy yesterday cautioned against his manager returning to the front line too quickly. "We are delighted the operation went so smoothly and successfully," said Levy. "Knowing Harry he will want to rush back, but it's important that he only does so when he has recovered properly." A statement released by the club revealed Redknapp was "in excellent spirits" after his coronary angioplasty – a procedure described as "routine" and carried out under local, rather than general, anaesthetic – and had asked Tottenham "to pass on his thanks to all the many, many fans who have sent goodwill messages".

His friend and long-time assistant Bond insisted the scare would not force Redknapp, who has transformed Spurs from relegation strugglers to Champions League contenders in the three years since he replaced Juande Ramos, to contemplate cutting his career short.

"This will not knock Harry's desire to manage, no chance," Bond said. "No, it won't happen. You give him two days off and he will come back rejuvenated. It's nothing really for us to worry about. It's happened. The procedure has come and gone. I have spoken to Harry and he is fine. While no one wants to see anyone have any type of operation, it is a simple procedure and hopefully he will be back within a couple of days so everything will be fine."

Redknapp is far from the first of his Premier League peers to undergo a heart operation. Sir Alex Ferguson had a pacemaker fitted in 2004, while Gérard Houllier had to have an 11-hour emergency aortic dissection after experiencing heart problems while at Liverpool. He later returned to top-flight management at Aston Villa before ill-health again forced him out of the game. Joe Kinnear, too, had a triple-heart bypass in 2009, ending his reign at Newcastle.

Gallas and Pienaar return for Europa tie

Stand-in Tottenham managers Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond are expected to make changes for tonight's Europa League trip to Rubin Kazan.

A number of first-team players miss the 4,000-mile round-trip along with convalescing Harry Redknapp, as the club look towards protecting a two-month unbeaten league run when they visit Fulham on Sunday. Spurs, who sit two points clear in Group A and with a home tie against PAOK and a trip to Shamrock Rovers to follow, will rotate for the return against a side they beat 1-0 at White Hart Lane a fortnight ago.

William Gallas could make a first appearance of the season after recovering from a calf strain, with the returning Steven Pienaar also set to play. Tom Carroll may get another chance, while either Carlo Cudicini or Heurelho Gomes will start in goal.

James Mariner

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