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Barcelona 15 hours ago
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Bayern MunichBayern Munich
VfL WolfsburgVfL Wolfsburg
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 25, 2006

Selection dilemma for Redknapp

Harry Redknapp is weighing up whether to make changes to his unbeaten Portsmouth team tonight as they face what he knows is their toughest Premiership task of the season so far.

Bolton, and their manager Sam Allardyce, arrive at Fratton Park to face a Portsmouth team who have dropped just two points in the opening five games and have yet to concede a goal.

Portsmouth boss Redknapp, who like Allardyce was featured on the BBC Panorama which looked at alleged illegal practices in English football, insists he is only concerned about tonight's game. Both men denied the allegations made against them by Panorama.

'It's always a tough one against Bolton,' said Redknapp. 'They have good players and use a system of play that makes it very difficult for opponents.

'They play two wide, one through the middle up front, and Ivan Campo sits in the space in the middle of the park controlling the game.

'It is five in midfield, really, and you can get outnumbered in there. It's just like Arsenal did to Manchester United last week at Old Trafford.

'It is very difficult unless you change your own system to match theirs and if you do, it leaves you only one up front and people moan that is negative at home.'

Portsmouth have used a basic 4-4-2 system so far, but Redknapp could pull striker Kanu deeper into midfield or call up £2.5million new signing Niko Kranjcar for his Premiership debut.

Midfielder Sean Davis said: 'We have enjoyed the way we are playing but we can't risk being outgunned in midfield by Bolton.

'They are a very well organised side and Kevin Nolan typifies them. I find it strange he still hasn't been picked for England and we'll need to watch him.'

Kanu believes Bolton's £8million French striker Nicolas Anelka - his former Arsenal team-mate and the player Redknapp tried to sign from Turkish side Fenerbahce in the summer - will be the main danger to Portsmouth.

The Nigerian, who has already scored four times this season, said: 'Anelka has a lot of pace and can do everything a striker needs to do. He can shoot and hit the ball and he's very determined.'

But Redknapp, whose team will go back to the top of the table above champions Chelsea with another win tonight, still has not ruled out a slight adjustment to his line-up.

If Portsmouth keep another clean sheet they will equal Chelsea's record of not conceding a goal in the first six matches from two years ago.

And Redknapp admits his newest signings Kranjcar, fellow midfielder Manuel Fernandes and striker Andy Cole want to carry last week's Carling Cup experience into the Premiership.

The manager said: 'We've got a competitive squad now and the ones who have just come in are getting desperate to make the team. It's going to be very interesting.

'It has surprised a lot of people to see us up there at this stage of the season and I would be a liar to say I am not one of them but we'll just keep trying to win games as they come along and see where that takes us.'