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Harry Redknapp relishes FA Cup showdown with Portsmouth

Tottenham players celebrate
Spurs are aiming to win the FA Cup for the first time since 1991

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp said he was relishing the prospect of a Wembley reunion with his former club Portsmouth in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

He made three inspired substitutions as Spurs fought back to beat Fulham 3-1 to reach the last four.

Redknapp's Pompey side won the FA Cup in May 2008 before he left to join Tottenham five months later.

"They are a great club with great supporters," he said. "It will be a real good day and a great atmosphere."

The Wembley showdown is a rare highlight for Portsmouth, who seem certain to be relegated from the Premier League after receiving a nine-point penalty for going into administration.

"It will be great for them," Redknapp continued. "They need something to lift their season."

Redknapp revealed that he speaks to Pompey manager Avram Grant every day as he follows the plight of his former club.

"Avram sent me a text today saying I hope you win every game except the semi-final.

"It will be nice to see him - I might meet him tonight for a glass of wine."

The victory over Fulham owed much to Redknapp's risk-taking instincts as he put his faith in players who were just returning from injury.

Trailing 1-0 at half-time to a Bobby Zamora goal, he made a double change to bring on David Bentley and Tom Huddlestone.

Bentley scored from a free-kick with his first touch and set up the second goal for another substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko.

Eidur Gudjohnsen added gloss to the scoreline with a neat finish.

606: DEBATE
Jay

"We took a gamble with Tom Huddlestone," Redknapp added. "He's been out and had only trained for one day. We took an even bigger gamble with Pav - he had a fitness test on Tuesday.

"[Wilson] Palacios tore his groin on Tuesday. The physio said there was no way he'd be able to play but he turned up today and said 'I'm going to be all right to play'.

"Don't ask me how he did it but he did."

Gudjohnsen praised Redknapp's decision to bring on Pavlyuchenko for the injured Vedran Corluka with the score at 1-1.

"I was well happy with his last substitution because it's risky but it worked," he said.

"It was a fantastic decision. With David getting the goal early it gave us a boost, then we pressed forward really well and that won us the game."

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson revealed that Zamora was taken off with 13 minutes remaining because of a stomach problem.

Hodgson is hoping the problem is not as serious as the illness suffered by David Elm and Bjorn Helge Riise.

He said: "They were out for a long time. They were very seriously ill, in fact one of them spent two days in hospital on a drip. Hopefully this is not a serious problem."



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see also
Tottenham 3-1 Fulham
24 Mar 10 |  FA Cup
Wednesday football as it happened
24 Mar 10 |  Football
Pompey permitted to sell players
24 Mar 10 |  Portsmouth


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