By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer
Southampton coach Dave Bassett fears manager Harry Redknapp is closing in on a controversial return to Portsmouth.
Saints have rejected an initial approach from Pompey chairman Milan Mandaric to speak to Redknapp, who left Fratton Park acrimoniously a year ago.
But Bassett told BBC Sport: "If you look at what is in the media, and it is all very heavy, it looks like Harry is probably going to go.
"Harry has got to think things through and do what he feels is right for him."
But he admitted: "My gut feeling, looking at everything, is that one's got to assume that it looks like Harry's probably going to go."
Pompey's first attempt to speak to Redknapp has been rebuffed, but it is claimed talks are ongoing between the clubs.
Bassett added: "Harry must make the decision that is best for him. If he feels it is right to go to Portsmouth, then as far as I'm concerned we must get on with it and deal with it - but I have to say he has not told me he is going.
"I spoke to Harry on Thursday and I knew there were bits and pieces going on, but that's not really my business.
"As far as I'm concerned, my job is to get on with the work and do the coaching, which I did."
Former Wimbledon, Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest boss Bassett joined Saints' coaching staff in the summer.
And he was cool about his own chances of taking over from Redknapp if he left St Mary's to rejoin Portsmouth.
He said: "I'm an experienced manager. I've been around and the chairman knows what I'm capable of doing or not doing."
Former Englang rugby union coach Sir Clive Woodward, now working behind the scenes at Southampton, may also be a shock contender.
But Bassett said: "I'm not the person to talk to about that. I won't be making the decision. The chairman Rupert Lowe will make that decision if he has to. He will decide, with his board, what he wants to do."
Bassett insists the speculation surrounding Redknapp should not affect Southampton's players ahead of Saturday's home game against Burnley.
He said: "This happens in football and you get used to it. You have to get on with things because it is part and parcel of the game."