Football

Tottenham Hotspur Vs Blackburn Rovers, Sat 13 Mar 2010

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Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is refusing to follow the example of Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez by criticising Sam Allardyce's style.

Allardyce's Blackburn team travel to White Hart Lane this weekend, nearly a fortnight after losing at Anfield and having his approach mocked by Benitez.

Despite Benitez's side winning on that day, Redknapp believes Liverpool are no longer favourites for the Champions League place that comes with finishing in the top four of the Barclays Premier League, with Manchester City now in pole position if they win their game in hand.

Spurs, however, are fourth heading into the weekend when they have the challenge of facing Allardyce's physical side.

"Everyone plays how they play, they have their own style," Redknapp said. "I have the way I want to play, Blackburn have their way of playing.

"Whatever Sam does, he has been one of the most successful managers, doing what he's done with what he's had.

"In the last 10 years he's done fantastically and nearly got the England manager's job - he was in the final interviews for that.

"I wouldn't criticise anything Sam does because he is a fantastic manager."

Redknapp previously rated Liverpool as favourites for fourth because they have Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres in their ranks - but this week they have lost to Wigan to fall further behind in the race.

"I think Manchester City are favourites but Liverpool and Villa will be right there. City have a game in hand," Redknapp said.

"It's going to be so tight - you could easily finish fourth or seventh, it's going to be that close between the four of us."

Redknapp still has Ledley King, Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas, Aaron Lennon and David Bentley sidelined through injury, although Younes Kaboul and Kyle Walker are available again after being cup-tied last weekend.

Jonathan Woodgate, meanwhile, has undergone an operation in Australia on his groin and will miss the rest of the season.

"Jenas is probably the closest, he's doing a bit of running and shouldn't be too long," Redknapp said.

"Tom should be back soon as well but Aaron is not running or working outside again."

Allardyce is hoping that he will not be on the receiving end of another reminder from Peter Crouch on Saturday about how he missed out on "the bargain of the century".

Rovers have already been the victim of the England striker's prowess once this season - it was his double that secured the points at Ewood Park for Spurs in December.

Allardyce said: "Crouchie is one of my favourites. I tried to sign him many times and always thought he was much better than people gave him credit for and he has improved as the years have gone on.

"How many centre-forwards at that height are goalscorers and good centre-forwards, and his England record speaks for itself.

"There are not many that can match what he does in the Premier League, and it was he who finished us off when we played just before Christmas.

"We had two chances when I was at Bolton to sign him but didn't come up with the money when we should have - we could have signed him from #2.2million from Aston Villa and that would have been the bargain snatch of the century."

Tottenham are in fourth spot in the table and with Blackburn looking just about secure in 12th it may look as though the home side have more at stake, but Allardyce insists that is not the case.

He also believes Rovers, despite having only won once away in the league all season, can cash in on Spurs' injury problems to spring a surprise.

"Every place is worth another #750,000 and that means an extra #750,000 for next year's budget so I will be driving the players on to the very end," said Allardyce.

"Eight of the 10 games left are against teams above us but in the form we are in at the moment hopefully we can surprise a couple of those.

"We have to take advantage of the fact that Harry has had to disrupt his team with five or six injuries to people who would play in the first team on a regular basis.

"Defensively they may be suspect and we have to exploit that - especially as their fans will be expecting them to push forward. We have to expose the gaps they may leave with that style of play."

David Dunn will be available after coming through a reserve game in midweek.

But Lars Jacobsen (hernia), Ryan Nelsen (knee), and Vince Grella (calf) will miss the trip.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Football
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
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