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Monday 11 December 2017

Redknapp tells Roman to carry fourth the fight James open to pay cut Bruce ready for a scrap

Harry Redknapp has challenged Roman Pavlyuchenko (pictured) to carry on scoring to help ensure an injury crisis at White Hart Lane does not derail Tottenham's Champions League hopes.

Pavlyuchenko was on target in the 2-1 victory against Everton yesterday to move Spurs back into the top four of the Premier League -- but Tom Huddlestone was carried off on a stretcher and added his name to growing list of players in the treatment room.

One area where Redknapp has plenty of options is up front, with Pavlyuchenko scoring six goals in his past four appearances despite wanting to leave the club and even criticising his manager for stopping him join Lokomotiv Moscow.

"He's got a future here while he's playing well and scoring goals," said Redknapp. "We had a Russian club wanting to buy him and a Premier League club wanted to buy him but I spoke to the chairman and said I want to keep him.

"He scores goals, that's five goals in two-and-a-quarter games and you can't ask more than that. It's good, it gives me a nice problem, I've got good front men.

"He's had the opportunity, he's taken it and he's got to keep taking it and keep playing like that. It's up to him."

Luka Modric doubled the lead against David Moyes' men with a fine strike that went in off the underside of the crossbar following a slick move involving fellow Croatians Vedran Corluka and Niko Kranjcar.

"It was one of the best goals I've scored," Modric said. "We know each other from the national team. I'm very happy but the most important thing is that we won this game, it was a massive win."



James open to pay cut

Portsmouth captain David James (pictured below) is hoping to be given the chance to see out the season at the club, suggesting he would take a pay cut if it helped ease the crisis of administration.

The future of every single Pompey player hangs in the balance after the south-coast outfit became the first Premier League club to head into administration on Friday. On the pitch, those players at least proved if they are going to be relegated this season given the nine-point deduction as punishment, but which has yet to be ratified by the Premier League board, then they will go down fighting.

That was evident on Saturday as Portsmouth beat Burnley 2-1 at Turf Moor, with on-loan Benfica midfielder Hassan Yebda scoring the winner via a 75th-minute penalty.

It was a much-needed tonic, but in many respects only serves as light relief as no-one knows what actions administrator Andrew Andronikou will take to alleviate Pompey's £78million debt.

If he is allowed to sell players, James is likely to be one of the first out of the door as he is almost certain to be one of the most highly paid. The 39-year-old insists, from his own personal perspective, he will do all he can to help the club fight for survival, on and off the pitch.

If Pompey are deducted the nine points this week, they will be 14 adrift of safety, and all but down and out. Yet James added: "Someone said we needed 10 wins out of 12. Well now we have one of them."

As for the financial crisis, the England goalkeeper has revealed he is prepared to sit down with Andronikou to discuss the matter.

"I want to play games. If things have to be done in order for me to stay in the team, then so be it," confirmed James. "I can't speak for the other players, only for me. The importance of Portsmouth outweighs the importance of any individual. I am happy to stay here and if I need to sit down and talk to the administrator, then that is what I will do."



Bruce ready for a scrap

Steve Bruce is convinced Sunderland can drag themselves out of relegation trouble despite their 14-game wait for a Premier League victory.

The Black Cats could only draw 0-0 with Fulham yesterday in the first of four successive games at the Stadium of Light, and have now taken only seven of the last 42 points on offer, form that has left them worryingly close to the bottom three. A crowd of 40,192 left Bruce and his players in little doubt as to their opinion as they left the pitch at the final whistle, and the pressure on them as they prepare for Bolton's visit to Wearside on March 9 is growing all the time.

He said: "We have got to handle it. The one thing here -- which I know after living here -- Fulham haven't got and Wigan and Birmingham and Bolton, there isn't the huge expectation that you have here.

"That goes with the territory of playing here and being able to handle it here. Let's be fair, over the years, we haven't been quite up to it. That's the challenge and I am convinced we will get there."

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