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By ESPN Staff
Apr 28, 2008

Redknapp worried James may miss Wembley

Harry Redknapp was left to worry about England goalkeeper David James' FA Cup final fitness as Blackburn celebrated the latest success of match-winning striker Roque Santa Cruz. James is starting a 19-day battle to be ready for Pompey's Wembley date on May 17 against Cardiff after missing his first Barclays Premier League game since moving from Manchester City in a £1.2million deal at the start of last season. The 37-year-old tore a calf muscle in last week's 3-1 defeat by his former club at Eastlands and although Pompey tried to keep it a secret, boss Redknapp was forced to ban him from training on Friday after a scan revealed the full extent of the damage. Redknapp admitted: 'You never know with calf injuries how long they will take. 'He did it at Manchester City and we finally got him to have a scan on Thursday which showed a grade-one tear. 'If he had trained Friday it could have turned into a grade four but, no, hopefully it shouldn't be a problem - if he takes his time and gets the right treatment.' It has been a difficult week for Redknapp with the death of his sister-in-law Pat, the mother of Chelsea star Frank Lampard. Defeat by battling Blackburn, courtesy of Paraguay striker Santa Cruz's clinical 73rd-minute strike at Fratton Park, means that Pompey, barring a miracle, cannot now finish fifth in the table. That was their insurance plan for entry to the UEFA Cup should they suffer a shock defeat by mid-table Championship side Cardiff, but Blackburn can still make it into Europe if they finish above Aston Villa and take England's Intertoto Cup place which could lead to a repeat of this season's UEFA Cup participation. Redknapp said: 'Fifth was always going to be difficult for us but I don't think it's the most important thing. 'Things have not been easy for me. My wife is in bits but you just have to crack on. A win against Blackburn would have been nice but that's how it goes, and if we can win at Wembley that's probably the only win that matters now. 'Blackburn came with a 4-5-1 set-up with Santa Cruz on the right of midfield and it was only in the second half when Mark (Hughes) pushed him up front with Jason Roberts and they looked a better team.' That was enough, though, and the South American, bought from Bayern Munich last summer, buried the winner past James' stand-in Jamie Ashdown. It was his sixth goal in the last seven games and his 21st this season, and Rovers manager Hughes insisted: 'Liverpool paid something like £25million for Fernando Torres but Roque came here for just over £3million and I'd say that, pound for pound, he's probably the better buy. 'We haven't the resources to go out and pay £10-15million for a player but I'm certainly happy with the four strikers I've got and, no, we are not selling this one. 'There has been some mischief in the papers about him being wanted by other clubs but we have given him as good as any top club could give him, and this is just the first year of a contract he's signed for four years.'