Portsmouth ponder Redknapp replacement

Portsmouth owner Alexandre Gaydamak may deliver the south coast club a brand new training ground and a 36,000 all-seater waterfront stadium to replace 'fortress' Fratton Park. But no decision he makes during his time in charge is likely to be as important as picking a manager to succeed Harry Redknapp following the Englishman's shock departure to Premier League rivals Tottenham last weekend.

Portsmouth fans will need no convincing of that after the club went into freefall during the short spell between Redknapp's two stints at Fratton when Frenchman Alain Perrin was in charge. On his return after a controversial spell with arch-rivals Southampton, Redknapp guided Portsmouth away from seemingly certain relegation and last season led them to FA Cup glory - Pompey's first major trophy for 58 years.

An astute operator in the transfer market, a good motivator of players and a better tactician than his popular image as a 'cheeky cockney' suggests, Redknapp will be a hard act to follow.

Assistant manager Tony Adams, who is currently in temporary charge along with coach Joe Jordan, the former Scotland striker, is said to be keen on taking over on a permanent basis. In his favour, the ex-Arsenal and England defender is a respected figure with the current squad and should have learnt plenty from working under Redknapp.

What is less certain is whether he has Redknapp's eye for a player that saw ther 61-year-old sign the likes of Sol Campbell and David James when others thought they were spent forces.

Former Bolton and Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce has also been linked with the job. Often branded a 'long-ball merchant', Allardyce would argue he was making the most of what he had at Bolton and wasn't given sufficient time to prove his worth at Newcastle.

Saints and sinners
Former Portsmouth technical director Avram Grant, who so nearly guided Chelsea to UEFA Champions League glory last season, Celtic's Gordon Strachan and former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness have also featured in the betting. Strachan and Souness, both former Scotland midfielders, also had spells managing Southampton.

But as Redknapp and the late Alan Ball, who played 'down the road' before taking charge at Fratton Park proved, having been a Saint doesn't always make you a sinner in the eyes of Pompey fans.

However, what should have been a joyful day in Portsmouth is set to be a bittersweet occasion on Tuesday when Redknapp returns to collect the Freedom of the City, along with his former players, in recognition of their Cup triumph.

"I only wish Portsmouth every success," Redknapp told BBC Radio Five Live on Monday. "I took a team when they were bottom of the league and we had no players but we built a squad there, a fantastic group of players. I thought I left Portsmouth in the best possible shape - they are a fantastic bunch of players and whoever gets the job will carry it on. It's a bigger club than me, that's for sure.

"I have done as well as I can on the resources - the support is great and they love their club but I've done my job there. The fans have got so much to look forward to. They've got AC Milan coming up in the UEFA Cup - who would have thought they'd be coming to Fratton Park?"