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By ESPN Staff

Redknapp focussed on Hull not Wembley date

Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp is preparing his squad for the Carling Cup final next weekend but admits the trip to Hull is ''massive'' in terms of surviving the Premier League.

Spurs hover dangerously above the relegation zone so Redknapp is expected to pick his strongest possible team for the Monday night fixture at the KC Stadium, with even skipper Ledley King being considered for the trip to give him some matchday activity ahead of the Wembley clash against Manchester United on Sunday.

''With our position in the league we have to make sure that we get our priorities right,'' Redknapp said.

Redknapp would ideally like to take his squad away to prepare for United but after Hull they face Shakhtar Donetsk in the second leg of their UEFA Cup last-32 tie, three days before the final.

Redknapp added: ''We should be preparing for three or four days and do something different to get the players ready. We're playing Thursday night.

''It's Manchester United anyway, so it's not an ideal week. We got back from Shakhtar 5am on Friday morning, Hull Monday night, Shakhtar on Thursday then the final. The Thursday night game is a nuisance.

''It's crazy the way they have piled the fixtures.''

Facing Phil Brown's men will be the only time during Redknapp's season-defining week that he will have a full strength team to pick from.

Robbie Keane, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Vedran Corluka are cup-tied for Europe, then Keane, Wilson Palacios, Carlo Cudicini, Pascal Chimbonda and Fraizer Campbell are ineligible for Wembley.

Redknapp cannot afford injuries so will field a number of youth players for the return leg against Ukraine champions Shakhtar, who hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg.

''The biggest challenge we face now is striking a balance in the teams we field over the course of the next five games we play in 12 days starting against Hull City,'' Redknapp said.

''Darren Bent and Fraizer Campbell are the only first team strikers eligible for the UEFA Cup but if Darren plays and gets injured then only Roman Pavlyuchenko will be available for Wembley because all our other strikers can't play.''

Centre-back Michael Dawson is one of the players who could play in all three matches this week - and he is relishing the challenge.

Dawson, who will be facing his brother Andy for the first time if they are both picked at the KC Stadium, said: ''We look forward to Hull and then back to the UEFA Cup on Thursday.

''We will be back at home against Shakhtar and we know how good we are at home and we will certainly have to take the game to them.''

Spurs will be looking to end a run of four away matches in the Premier League where they have lost to late goals.

''There are things we have to look and stop doing,'' striker Keane said. ''At home we are a strong team and usually batter teams.

''Away from home has been a problem and that is something we have to sort out.

''We certainly have the squad and the attitude to go on and win games. It's up to us to switch that home form to the away form.''


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