EXCLUSIVE: Spurs boss hints at line-up for FA Cup clash against Charlton
HARRY Redknapp believes that Tottenham could be major contenders in the FA Cup this season, but admits that he will rotate his squad for Sunday’s third round clash against Charlton.
Having fallen at the penultimate hurdle last season with the shock semi-final defeat by his former club Portsmouth, Redknapp is hoping to go at least one step further this campaign.
However, the Spurs boss concedes that his priority is to give his key players a break after the hectic Christmas schedule, and give his frustrated benchwarmers a taste of the action.
“The FA Cup is still a fantastic competition, we all want to get to the cup final if we can,” said Redknapp.
“We’ve proved that we can beat the top sides on our day so we’re one of the teams who will have a real chance in the FA Cup this year and we want to give it our best shot.
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“It would be nice to have a good cup run and, again, [like the Carling Cup], it will give me the chance to rotate the squad a bit.
“There are so many good players who aren’t playing, and the FA Cup will give me a chance to get them back in and get them a game under their belts as well.
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“I’m not disrespecting Charlton and it will be a tough game, but I have got some top players who aren’t playing. They need to play as well, so it will give one or two of them a chance.”
The likes of Niko Kranjcar, Sandro, Jermaine Jenas and Giovani Dos Santos are all likely to be involved on Sunday.
But, as he prepares to shuffle his pack, Redknapp is urging his players to learn from last season’s laboured progression through the FA Cup, and secure safe passage to the next phase at the first attempt.
Having beaten Peterborough in the third round, Spurs needed three replays to advance past Leeds, Bolton and Fulham en route to last season’s semi-final.
Now, having just played four games in 11 days, Tottenham have a relatively relaxing spell of three matches before the end of January – and Redknapp is anxious to keep it that way, and avoid a trip to the Valley.
Charlton lost their manager on Tuesday when Phil Parkinson was sacked, but Redknapp warns that the visitors will be highly-motivated, intent on causing an early FA Cup surprise.
“We could do without the replays this year, so hopefully we can get through at the first time of asking,” said Redknapp. “They’re good opposition, Charlton, and it’s a London derby so it should be a good atmosphere.
“The cup’s always special and Charlton will come here full of effort. They’ve got a couple of lads who played here, Gary Doherty and the boy Johnnie Jackson, so they’ve got one or two ex-Spurs boys who will want to come here and do well.”