| 10.7°C Dublin

Bond spies chance to send gift to recovering Redknapp

KEVIN BOND has instructed Tottenham's players to put a smile back on Harry Redknapp's face by securing their passage to the last 32 of the Europa League with a win over Russian side Rubin Kazan tonight.

Spurs will guarantee their progression to the second round with two games to spare if they beat Rubin in Russia this evening.

The club's preparations for the match have been thrown into disarray after Redknapp was forced to stay in London to undergo a heart procedure to unblock two coronary arteries.

Bond thinks nothing would delight the 64-year-old more than seeing his team pull off a win in Kazan to secure qualification and stretch the club's unbeaten record to eight matches -- a run that seemed unlikely after they lost their first two games of the season.

"It would certainly lift his spirits if we were able to bring him home some points from the game tomorrow," Bond said. "It would give him a big lift, for sure.

"A couple of wins for us would be the best tonic."

Redknapp was said to be in "excellent spirits" yesterday as he recovered from the procedure.

A workaholic passionate about his life in football, Redknapp is determined to return to work and he even claimed yesterday he could be back at the club's training ground tomorrow morning.

The previous case of Sam Allardyce, who underwent a similar procedure and was out for two weeks while in charge of Blackburn, suggests such a diagnosis is optimistic, however.

The surgeons who carried out the procedure will decide how long Redknapp should sit out his duties, although he could leave hospital tomorrow.

As a close friend of Redknapp's, Bond insisted yesterday he will advise the former West Ham boss not to come back unless he is certain he will not put his long-term health in danger.

Bond, who has worked with Redknapp at Southampton and Portsmouth, said:

"As somebody who knows him well, I would tell him not to come back if he is not ready.

"I think that is important. He will listen on things like that so hopefully he will do the same now."

Meanwhile, Dutch forward Rafael van der Vaart revealed Tuesday night's news came as a shock to the Spurs players. He said: "We were totally surprised and a little bit scared. They (Tottenham) never told us.

"I hope it's going to be better and we can keep winning for him."

Bond has brought a relatively strong squad on the 2,000-mile trip to Kazan.

William Gallas, who is set to make his first appearance of the season after recovering from a calf injury, has made the journey, as has England striker Jermain Defoe.

Steven Pienaar is also likely to play his first game of the campaign after coming through the groin injury which caused him to require surgery this summer.

Meanwhile, American Clint Dempsey admits Fulham need points from tonight's Europa League encounter with Wisla Krakow if they are to progress to the knockout stages.

The Cottagers are expected to name a strong line-up to face the Polish champions as they look to avoid a repeat of their 1-0 defeat in Poland.

"You never want to lose and because the table is so tight we need to win," Dempsey said.

"We need to get points as you don't want to be waiting until the last game to get out of the group."

Tony Pulis could be forgiven for cursing the Europa League after seeing the way the fixtures had panned out this week, but instead the Stoke manager will push his squad in a bid to continue the club's dream European run.

The Potters will take onMaccabi Tel Aviv in Israel this evening only three days after Monday's 3-1 Premier League defeat by Newcastle, while they return to league action on Sunday with an away trip to Bolton.

"We're not as well known in Europe as we'd like to be and being in a European competition, being able to come to Tel Aviv, which is a special place, is really an honour and a privilege.

"We will give it our best shot. There's three games to go and everything to play for."

Birmingham left-back David Murphy remains wary of the threat Club Brugge will pose in tonight's Europa League encounter at St Andrew's despite the Belgian club's current problems. "I think it will be very similar to what we faced over in Brugge," Murphy said.

"Sometimes when you lose a manager, as a squad of players, it can bring you closer together. "That can make the task a little bit more difficult, so we're certainly expecting a very difficult game."


Privacy