Harry Redknapp has admitted he will be sending a makeshift side to Old Trafford for Tottenham’s FA Cup fourth round tie against Manchester United.
Redknapp’s side are feeling the affects of a demanding midweek League Cup semi-final win at Burnley and he has admitted he will be unable to field anything like a full-strength side against opponents his side will face again in the League Cup final on March 1.
This all bodes well for United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who is grappling with an injury crisis as his side bid to keep their pursuit of silverware on four fronts on track by advancing to the fifth round.
Redknapp, who watched his side come within minutes of throwing away a three-goal lead in a dramatic second leg against Burnley, now admits his main focus will be keeping Spurs in the Premier League.
Despite beating United on home soil with Porstmouth last season before going on to lift the trophy with victory over Cardiff City, Redknapp is clear about his priorities this season.
Defenders Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Dawson will be rested along with Jermain Defoe, as Redknapp prepares to field an even weaker team than the one which scraped home at Burnley.
Redknapp said: “With respect to Manchester United, I don’t know what more I can do. It will be a different team again that goes to Old Trafford. OK, we’ve reached Wembley and that is fantastic, but the main objective remains staying in the Premier League and certain people will not be considered.
“We went to extra time against Burnley and have injuries, so we need to look at who is available for consideration.”
This will be music to the ears of Ferguson, who will be without three members of his first choice back four as well as midfielder Anderson and Wayne Rooney.
United’s reduced options could result in a rare starting opportunity for Portuguese international Nani, who admits he is desperate to play a more pivotal role than he has done so far this season.
The Portuguese winger is hoping his stunning strike against Derby County in the League Cup semi-final second leg in midweek will earn him a run in the side as Ferguson shuffles his pack.
“Last season was good. I was pleased with my games and my contribution to the team,” Nani said.
“This season I hoped it would be better. When I get my chances my aim is to do better than I did at the start of the season.
“I want to play more. I would like to play more times but it hasn’t been the same as last season.
“I feel good when I play and I try to do my best to help the team. In some games I have done well but others I haven’t done so well, but this is football.
“Your fitness when you don’t play every week suffers. But I am training good and keep preparing for the next match and hope to play.
“My focus is always on doing well for the team. If I do that then everything will be going well for me.
“I am still confident. It is difficult when you play one game and then are out for two matches. You want to stay in for a run of matches.
“You really need three, four or five games for your confidence to build and your fitness to be right. You can do anything when your confidence is high.”
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