Soccer

Redknapp has eye on FA Cup

2012-02-18 09:08
Harry Redknapp (File)

London - Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp claims he has had one team on his mind all week - and it hasn't been England.

Redknapp is the overwhelming favourite to succeed Fabio Capello as England manager ahead of the 2012 European championships.

But he claims he is yet to hear from the FA, English football's governing body, about the post - and the thought of leading his country has not entered his head.

And the team that has occupied his thoughts all week as he enjoyed a four-day break in Dubai has been Stevenage, Sunday's FA Cup fifth-round opponents, rather than the national side.

"I have not spoken to anybody about it. I have not discussed the job with anybody," Redknapp said.

"Last week I saw that a number of managers had ruled themselves out, but they hadn't even been ruled in.

"I am not going to rule myself out but I have never been ruled in either. No one has never mentioned it to me. Never. I have just been thinking about Stevenage on Sunday. It will be a tough game for us.

"(Coaches) Joe (Jordan) and Clive (Allen) went to watch them the other night and they came back and said it will be a real hard cup tie.

"So that's all I have been thinking about - picking a team that will get a result at Stevenage."

Redknapp admits he would not welcome an approach about the England manager's post until after the season is over, when he hopes to have secured Champions League football for next season.

Tottenham are currently occupying third place in the Premier League, seven points off leaders Manchester City and 10 above fourth-placed Arsenal.

"I have a job to do here," Redknapp added. "My focus has to be on trying to get Tottenham as high as I can in the table.

"We are not far away. We are right there. We are just behind the Manchester clubs.

"I still keep looking at the gap between us and fourth. That's the key as well for me.

"Ten points is a good lead but you know we have to make sure we maintain that at least until the end of the season.

"The Champions League is what we have to make sure we really want this year and the FA Cup is there as well.

"Sunday will be a tough game but we still have a chance in that so that's really where I have to keep focusing on. I can't start thinking about anything else really."

Rafael van der Vaart is still out with a calf injury, although he may be back in time to face Arsenal next week.

Defender Younes Kaboul is a doubt with a knee injury, but New Zealand international Ryan Nelsen is set for his full debut.

Meanwhile Stevenage manager Gary Smith is confident of pulling off an FA Cup upset despite his team's position of sixth in League One, 47 places below Tottenham.

Smith, a long-time Arsenal supporter, is fully aware of Spurs' strength, but points to Stevenage's record of knocking out Newcastle last year and Reading this season.

He said: "I certainly lean towards the Arsenal side of north London.

"But I am very respectful of how this Spurs team has evolved over the last two or three years since Harry Redknapp has been in charge. But upsets are a big part of the FA Cup.

"It could happen and if we are going to have a chance, the best possible opportunity is going to come here at home."

FA Cup Round 5 fixtures:

Saturday, February 18:

Chelsea v Birmingham - 14:30
Everton v Blackpool - 17:00
Millwall v Bolton - 17:00
Norwich v Leicester - 17:00
Sunderland v Arsenal - 19:15

Sunday, February 19:

Crawley v Stoke - 14:00
Stevenage v Tottenham - 16:00 
Liverpool v Brighton - 18:30

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