Redknapp to renew rivalry with Pompey

Ian Parkes

Redknapp quit Pompey just seven weeks ago following a much-publicised fall-out with chairman Milan Mandaric, and just two weeks later took over at bitter south-coast rivals Southampton.

And yesterday's FA Cup fourth-round draw paired Redknapp's Saints against Portsmouth, a tie which is almost certain to attract television coverage given the animosity which surrounded his departure.

While there is no doubting what Redknapp achieved during his two years and nine months at Fratton Park, there are likely to be a number of supporters who have not forgiven him for walking out.

Redknapp said: "Maybe there will be a backlash because there's always a certain element that are going to cause problems, but I will get on with it and see what happens."

When asked whether he would speak to Mandaric and manager Velimir Zajec, whose initial appointment as director of football effectively undermined Redknapp, the Saints boss replied: "Of course I will. Why not? Not a problem."

Unlike the intriguing third-round draw, which threw up the prospect of a number of upsets, the pairings for the last 32 are heavily weighted in favour of the Premiership big guns.

FA Cup favourites Chelsea, along with Arsenal and Newcastle, are at home to Birmingham, Wolves and Coventry, while holders Manchester United and Liverpool providing they first dispose of Exeter and Burnley in a third-round replay and rearranged tie respectively next week host Middlesbrough and Bournemouth.

Veteran Cherries striker Steve Fletcher, who has been with the club for almost 13 years, will be cheering on boyhood heroes Liverpool when Rafael Benitez's side finally play their game with the Clarets at Turf Moor.

"It will be absolutely fantastic if Liverpool get through because I've been here 13 years now and it's the first major tie we've a prospect of having," said Fletcher.

"I was a fanatic Liverpool supporter up until the age of 16. It will be a dream come true if we get them, so we will be watching the game with anticipation."

Jose Mourinho's Chelsea have been installed as 4-1 favourites with bookies to lift the Cup, with assistant Steve Clarke believing it is a rightful tag, conceding: "In everything we've done so far this season the players have been top class and we deserve to be favourites."

For Mourinho, it is another step on the road to what would be an unprecedented quadruple.

Clarke added: "There's a lot of football to be played between now and the end of the season. We're challenging for four trophies and we're going to see how many we end up with."

For the heroes of the third round, only League One Oldham emerged with a tie to dream of their reward for knocking out Manchester City is another Boundary Park clash against Premiership opposition Bolton.

West Ham and Sheffield United, who also beat Premiership opposition in the form of Norwich and Aston Villa, meet at Upton Park.

Sunderland head to Everton after disposing of Crystal Palace.

League Two leaders Yeovil would have preferred a home tie, but can at least console themselves with a trip to Charlton, although the priority for manager Gary Johnson is undoubtedly promotion.

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