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Will Redknapp stick or twist for cup tie?

PUBLISHED: 16:20 30 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:40 07 September 2010

Harry Redknapp Manager of Tottenham Hotspur looks on before kick off against Hull City during their Premier League football match at KC Stadium in Hull, England on February 23, 2009. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY Additional licence required for any commercial/promotional use or use on TV or internet (except identical online version of newspaper) of Premier League/Football League photos. Tel DataCo +44 207 2981656. Do not alter/modify photo. (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Harry Redknapp Manager of Tottenham Hotspur looks on before kick off against Hull City during their Premier League football match at KC Stadium in Hull, England on February 23, 2009. AFP PHOTO/IAN KINGTON - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY Additional licence required for any commercial/promotional use or use on TV or internet (except identical online version of newspaper) of Premier League/Football League photos. Tel DataCo +44 207 2981656. Do not alter/modify photo. (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

2009 AFP

AS THE all-important race for the top four takes a back seat this weekend, Harry Redknapp will be in two minds as he ponders his next team selection. Spurs host the Championship's bottom side, Peterborough, at home on Saturday...

By Ben Pearce

AS THE all-important race for the top four takes a back seat this weekend, Harry Redknapp will be in two minds as he ponders his next team selection.

Spurs host the Championship's bottom side, Peterborough, at home on Saturday, and will be big favourites to progress.

The Posh have won just three league games and they do not travel well, taking just four points from a possible 36 on the road.

Redknapp will, therefore, be sorely tempted to placate his reserves - the likes of David Bentley, Gareth Bale, Alan Hutton and Roman Pavlyuchenko.

The manager has steadfastly refused to weaken his first team in the league, but he will now be under pressure to start with his back-up players - as he did against Doncaster and Preston in the early rounds of the Carling Cup.

However, this is Tottenham's most important FA Cup third-round tie for three years - this is the first time since 2006 that Spurs have entered the new year without Carling Cup or European ties also on the horizon.

On that occasion, Leicester overturned a two-goal deficit in the third round to win 3-2, denying Tottenham any prospect of a trophy. Accidents happen and history could repeat itself this weekend. (Yes Spurs could win the title, but no they won't.)

Redknapp's decision is all the more difficult because he has no reason to rest players this weekend. Spurs will have had five days to recover from the West Ham clash, and it is then eight days until they travel Liverpool.

Meanwhile, the boss is keenly aware of the importance of confidence and momentum - a win would be Tottenham's fourth from five games, but a shock elimination would be a hammer-blow before the trip to Anfield.

Even a draw would be a major setback, giving Spurs a must-win replay in midweek between crucial Premier League clashes.

Of course, even a semi-weakened Spurs team should have more than enough to progress, but Redknapp is well versed in the magic and history of the FA Cup.

The over-confident are often made to pay. Just ask Cardiff, who lie fourth in the Championship and led Peterborough 4-0 at half-time on Monday. A formality? You'd think so. They drew 4-4.


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