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Harry's programme notes

Posted on 27 January 2009  - 12:00

As part of our build-up to home matches, we publish Harry Redknapp's column direct from our matchday programme.

Harry's programme notes

As part of our build-up to home matches, we publish Harry Redknapp's column direct from our matchday programme.

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HARRY'S NOTES v STOKE, JANUARY 27

I am delighted that we are returning to Wembley. It is a great achievement for this club to be competing in a Cup Final two years running - it is terrific for the supporters and everyone associated with the football club.

With three minutes of extra time remaining at Turf Moor there did not look like any way back for us and that would have been a huge disappointment. It was looking desperate, but we kept going and managed to rescue ourselves with two late goals. Burnley played well but our goalkeeper was not called into action too many times and we have come through it to reach a final.

It is certainly something to look forward to when it comes round but first we must put all our energies into the league because it is going to be tight down the bottom up until the last day of the season.

Staying in the Premier League is the number one priority between now and the Carling Cup Final, which is also a main objective of ours this season.

From Hull City downwards in the table, everyone is in the mix and I certainly wouldn't want to pick out who will finish in the bottom three.

No-one ever said it was going to be easy but the players have been fantastic for me since I arrived at the Club. We have lost just one game at home in league and cup competition in that time.

We have had a few late goals against us in the last month away from home in the league but other than that recent dip our form has been good.

We made a bright start against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday in what I felt was an encouraging performance. However, we were undone by a bad spell which only lasted two minutes but it proved enough to end our participation in this season's FA Cup.

In our last game at White Hart Lane against Portsmouth the players showed great character to come back from a goal down to earn a point. I have been in these situations before over the years and witnessed teams go under suddenly when things are not going well but we didn't. We came back at Portsmouth stronger and I felt they were hanging on at the end. We bombarded them in the closing stages and probably should have won the game.

Harry's notes
I would like to welcome Stoke City to White Hart Lane for what is a huge fixture this evening, particularly Tony Pulis, who I know well from my time at Bournemouth where he served under me as a player and coach and has since gone on to become a successful manager.

Stoke will pose a different threat to our previous opponents Manchester United and will put us under pressure particularly with their aerial threat.

We have had a tough schedule of late, having played Portsmouth, extra-time against Burnley and then an FA Cup fixture since Stoke last played against Chelsea 10 days ago.

I was at that match at Stamford Bridge and I couldn't see any way Stoke were not going to take three points in the closing stages when they were leading 1-0 because Chelsea had run out of ideas. They were certainly unfortunate to come away with nothing in the end.

Stoke have achieved some good results on the road against the likes of Liverpool and Newcastle United so we will need strong characters tonight in our efforts to collect maximum points.

Enjoy the game.