Spurs boss admits reservations over Corluka and new signing Khumalo

HARRY Redknapp admits that he would rather push Jonathan Woodgate back into action tonight than field international centre-backs Vedran Corluka or new signing Bongani Khumalo.

Although versatile, Croatia defender Corluka is a centre-back by trade, and he regularly plays that position for his country.

However, Redknapp concedes that he would rather give Woodgate his first competitive match for 14 months than field Corluka alongside Sebastien Bassong.

“If I thought he [Woodgate] was fit I would play him over most people,” said the manager. “I wouldn’t see myself wanting to play Charlie [Corluka] and Bassong.

“I don’t know if you saw the game at West Ham this year [when we lost 1-0], but I decided after that game that I’d better not play them together again if I could help it.”

Redknapp is unable to select the injured Ledley King, Younes Kaboul or the suspended Michael Dawson at Ewood Park tonight, while William Gallas is struggling with a hip problem.

However, the Spurs boss is also loath to field his new 24-year-old centre-back Khumalo, who arrived from SuperSport United in January, having played in the heart of South Africa’s rearguard at the World Cup.

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“He is fit to play. I think the Premier League is better than the South African league,” said the manager. “I know it’s been compared to it but I just think it is a better league than the South African Division 1. There is a difference.

“He has to get used to the Premier League so let’s hope he does. It isn’t a case of adapting, it’s a case of whether you’re good enough.

“He is a fantastic boy who we think has a good chance of being a really good player so we have taken him, and he has come from South Africa and we love him to bits.

“He wants to be a player but he is a young kid really who has got lots to learn - but he wants to learn and he has the raw talent.

“We were going to loan him out to a Championship team, and that would have been good for him, but he is now in my squad because of players being injured.”

You can follow me on Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs