Redknapp: Fringe players not happy
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp admits he has a fight on his hands to keep his fringe players happy.
With Spurs currently on a 10-match unbeaten run that has seen them climb to third in the Premier League, Redknapp has been loath to rotate his squad, although Wednesday's Europa League clash with PAOK Salonika will be a rare exception.
Vedran Corluka this week joined Sebastien Bassong, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Heurelho Gomes in declaring his wish to leave White Hart Lane in January due to limited first-team chances, while Jermain Defoe has been linked with a move to QPR after falling behind Emmanuel Adebayor in the pecking order.
But with two-thirds of the season remaining and the club fighting for silverware in three competitions, Redknapp is reluctant to deplete his squad.
''It's difficult because the players want to play. You won't keep them happy [if they're not]. You just hope you can convince them [to stay],'' Redknapp said. ''You want to keep them happy and onside. We need them. We're going to need a big squad and unless you can get a replacement, you can't afford to let people go. We need that strength in depth, especially if we stay in Europa League.''
While Spurs' league form has seen them rocket to within two points of second-placed Manchester United, their Europa League campaign has stuttered slightly.
A 1-0 defeat at Rubin Kazan saw the London club drop to third in Group A, but they could return to the summit if they beat PAOK at White Hart Lane, and could go through as winners if they also win against Shamrock Rovers next month.
Redknapp wants his team to regain the initiative with a victory against the Greeks, but admits that he will stick to his policy of turning to youngsters like Jake Livermore, Harry Kane and Tom Carroll to do the job.
''Tomorrow is a must-win game. We are a point behind PAOK. You can see Rubin beating Shamrock, so we need to win,'' Redknapp said. ''We don't want to go to the last game because Rubin could rest players for last game and they will have already qualified.
''But that doesn't change what team I'd put out. I'd have made 11 changes to the team but Pavlyuchenko tweaked his knee yesterday quite badly, so Jermain Defoe might have to play.''