Redknapp: I rate Pavlyuchenko
Harry Redknapp hopes a fully-focused Roman Pavlyuchenko can help fire Tottenham Hotspur into the last eight of the FA Cup. The Russian came off the bench to net a brace in the 3-0 win at Wigan on Sunday, which kept Spurs ahead in the race for fourth place in the Barclays Premier League.
Pavlyuchenko is likely to be given the chance to lead the attack for tomorrow night's FA Cup fifth-round replay against Bolton at White Hart Lane.
Lokomotiv Moscow claimed Redknapp had blocked their move for Pavlyuchenko during the January transfer window, while the 28-year-old was then quoted accusing his manager of having a laugh at his expense. Now, though, the Spurs boss believes the big Russian can make a telling contribution over the closing months of the campaign.
"When he is in the right frame of mind and comes on like he did on Sunday, I have always said he is a fantastic talent with great ability, so I was delighted," Redknapp said. "He had trained well last week and was the best player. He looked sharp and was at it. I had no hesitation in putting him on because I knew he would have a go for us. He is a terrific lad. You have got to get him at it a bit and, when he is, he is a real good player, there is no doubt about that.
"If he can score some goals for us between now and the end of the season to take us where we want to go, then that will be a real bonus for us. When he is at his best, he is a top player - he has played at World Cups and, if he can do that for us, it will be great."
Redknapp added: "Hopefully he is happy here now. I have never wanted to let him go - we could have sold him in the window but we wanted to keep him here. I think maybe it was Roman who wanted to go back to Russia. Hopefully, he can have a good run, do well for us, settle down and want to stay."
Following the departure of Robbie Keane on loan to Celtic, Redknapp wants back-up for his preferred attacking partnership of Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch, which could also see former Chelsea forward Eidur Gudjohnsen feature tomorrow.
Redknapp said: "Jermain has been in good form, scoring goals, and Crouchy has been leading the line well. I also need to give Eidur a chance to play as well, because he has been great in training. He is another player who is very much in my mind."