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Harry's praise for defence

Harry Redknapp has paid tribute to our recent defensive record that has seen us keep clean sheets in each of our last five games.

Harry Redknapp has paid tribute to our recent defensive record that has seen us keep clean sheets in each of our last five games.

Since the home defeat against Wolves on December 12, our only reverse in nine Premier League games, our back line has been impregnable.

But the manager insists the run has come as no shock to him, especially when he considers the defenders he has at his disposal, reserving special praise for the two mainstays during this run, Michael Dawson and goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes

And Harry also argued that his team being solid at the back is nothing new, saying: "If you look at our home record last season, how many goals did we concede? Ten all season? It was incredible really.

"So we proved we were strong defensively last season, and now Gomes is having another good season, which has been important.

"We've just worked hard as a team. Sometimes you need a bit of luck as well, but everybody's put a shift in and that's what comes from competition for places. Everybody knows if you don't work hard, you don't get in the team.

"It's been quite a settled back line apart from the changes when Alan Hutton and Gareth Bale came in last weekend and Ledley King came in the previous game. Michael Dawson has been in great form with Sebastien Bassong alongside him.

"We work with them as a group, as a back four, but Dawson's game has been top class. He's a great character."

And there is still defensive strength waiting to return to the fold in the form of Jonathan Woodgate, who has been restricted to just three games all season due to groin trouble.

In the absence of a game this weekend, Harry has also updated us on his situation, adding: "It is just a case of trying to get to the bottom of what is causing the problem. He has had a few operations on that area and we are finding it difficult to solve the problem.

"He wants to play football as much as anybody and hopefully, in a couple of weeks, the problem could go away in the same way as it came.

"Obviously he's down about the situation, but I think he feels he's working hard now and he's hoping that he's on the way back."

Another victim of groin trouble in more recent weeks has been Aaron Lennon, who Harry reveals has set a clear target in his recovery.

"Aaron is working hard and I think he wants to be fit for the FA Cup game against Leeds. That's his hometown club and that's the game he really wants to play in," the gaffer added.