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By ESPN Staff
Dec 22, 2006

Redknapp slams hectic Christmas schedule

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp has hit out at the Premiership's 'killing' Christmas and New Year programme, but his players insist they can cope.

Like most Premiership clubs, Portsmouth face four games in the next 10 days, starting tomorrow at home to in-form Sheffield United.

Redknapp's team travel to his former club West Ham on Boxing Day and then face further tough tests against Bolton and Tottenham.

The 59-year-old Fratton Park chief, who famously 'cancelled' all Christmas festivities two years ago when Portsmouth were struggling, again is not welcoming the busy period.

He said: 'There are too many games. I am going to have to juggle around with the squad because I have some players who are really going to feel it. Four games in such a short space of time would kill them.

'We have to go to Bolton next Saturday and then Tottenham on the Monday and some of them are not going to be able to do that because it may turn out that it keeps them out for five or six weeks after that.'

Linvoy Primus, Portsmouth's 33-year-old centre-back, admits: 'It is a bit mad - four games in 10 days. It is a lot to ask.'

But he insists: 'Every team has to go through something similar and so I think we will be okay. We have two home games and two away and hopefully we will get maximum points at Fratton Park and also pick up something away as well.

'Sheffield United have been getting some great results and have a great team spirit, but every team has spells of doing well and hopefully we can put an end to their good run.

'We have been playing fantastically well at home. We picked up a great point at Arsenal last week. We are confident that this kind of form will continue.'

Redknapp said: 'Sheffield United are a strong outfit who never give up. I felt at the start of the season you should not write off any of the three teams that came up.

'No-one gets an easy game against Sheffield United. You only have to look at their away record. They went to Wigan and won and not many teams do that.'

Redknapp may 'rush' former England striker Andy Cole, 35, back into action with a cameo appearance from the bench tomorrow. Cole has had just two full training sessions since collecting an Achilles injury a month ago.

With Benjani Mwaruwari (hamstring) and Lomana Lualua (thigh) on the sidelines, and nine-goal Kanu struggling with a knee injury, there are few options up front.

But Redknapp has cast doubt on whether he will sign reinforcements in the January transfer window, even though he has been linked with a loan move for Chelsea's out-of-favour England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips, Newcastle's Titus Bramble and several overseas players.

He said: 'There are still a lot of things to consider. If I get the chance to bring in some good players I will but I am not going to waste the owner's (Alexandre Gaydamak) money.'