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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 28, 2006

Pompey set to rest Kanu against Bolton

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp will rest Kanu for the club's trip to Bolton on Saturday amid fears the nine-goal Nigerian could be facing burnout.

Zimbabwean Benjani Mwaruwari will start up front on his own instead of top-scorer Kanu, who will be left behind on the south coast in preparation the New Year's Day encounter with Tottenham.

Redknapp is reluctant to play the former Arsenal striker in both games in case he loses him for the next couple of months.

Andrew Cole is the only other available front man but Redknapp is not confident he can complete 90 minutes and will persist with Benjani, who is still overcoming a hamstring problem.

Redknapp said: 'We have been lucky with injuries all season really, but Kanu cannot play two games so close together.

'It takes him three or four days to recover, so if he plays at Bolton he won't play on Monday against Tottenham.

'All season he has been magnificent for us, he holds the ball up and makes us play.

'With Benjani it is difficult. He still has a bit of hamstring so if he starts I do not know if he will be fit for Tottenham.

'You have to gamble because he could play, get a tear and I could lose him for four to six weeks. The thing is as a player he never complains.

'Andy Cole will be involved again. He could start but I am not sure how long he will last. I am not sure he can play for 90 minutes.

'It has been the same since the opening day of the season really. Kanu walked in two days before the Blackburn game and we have had to juggle on and off since then.'

With the opening of the transfer window less than a week away Redknapp is desperate to strengthen his squad to continue their quest for European qualification.

Norwich striker Robert Earnshaw and Preston's David Nugent are names the club have been linked to in recent weeks, but the Pompey chief is wary of over-paying for homegrown talent.

Redknapp added: 'I like Earnshaw, he has done well and has always scored goals. His record is pretty good and he is a natural goalscorer.

'Norwich will probably want good money for him though. You look at Nugent, who I like - £5million pounds is a lot of money.

'Where can you find strikers? It is hard and it will be tough to get someone here to make us a better team.

'It is always a gamble, you can get someone for a million and they do not perform or you can get Kanu who costs nothing and scored nine goals.

'Look at the players Chelsea have brought for millions and millions. Some have been great but some have not quite come off.'