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Friday 15 December 2017

Redknapp targets four points and a job with Blues

Harry Redknapp has been appointed as the new manager of Birmingham Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.
Harry Redknapp has been appointed as the new manager of Birmingham Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Jeremy Wilson

Harry Redknapp is hoping that his return to football management can end with his permanent appointment at Birmingham City after accepting what amounts to a three-game challenge to keep the club in the Championship.

The former Tottenham, West Ham United, Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth manager was last in club management at Queens Park Rangers in 2015 and was happy to work for free at Birmingham until the end of the season.

Redknapp also agreed a deal to help Derby County last year on the proviso that he would only be paid if they reached the play-offs - they eventually lost in the semi-final to Hull City - and he has set a target of four points from Birmingham's final three games.

They were on a run of just two wins in 22 games under Gianfranco Zola and face a difficult run-in, starting with a huge Midlands derby against Aston Villa on Sunday and then fixtures against Huddersfield and Bristol City.

"Four points would do it," said Redknapp. "Easier said than done, but we will give it our best. If I can keep them up, next year would be something I'd really fancy. We can sit down and talk about going forward. Birmingham is a proper football club - it's a good club. They are in a precarious position."

Zola decided to leave on Monday and Redknapp was then called the same evening before accepting the job after a 15-minute meeting in London.

Money

"I've gone in there, I've said, 'I don't want nothing - I'll come and do it'," said Redknapp. "The money, I wasn't interested. It's a real challenge. I'll come and live up there until the end of the season and throw myself into it. I got home and my wife said: 'Are you mad?' I haven't got a magic wand. I am not going to go in there and they are suddenly going to turn into Real Madrid."

Redknapp, who will be assisted by former Bristol City boss Steve Cotterill, added that his priority would be to restore some belief.

Now 70, Redknapp has been keen to get back involved at a club since leaving Derby last summer and was among those consulted by the Football Association after England's demise at Euro 2016.

Redknapp's track record both for promotions and galvanising struggling teams was a major factor in his appointment.

Only Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have managed more Premier League games and, while Redknapp's time at QPR was very mixed and he was unable to solidify their top-flight status, he left with them a place higher than when he joined more than two years earlier.

QPR were ultimately relegated after he left in February 2015 and are now 17th in the Championship.

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