Redknapp wary of former star
Pompey boss aware of Yakubu threat
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: February 29, 2008 9:37pm
Redknapp: Brought Yakubu to England
Harry Redknapp expects Everton striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni to cause Portsmouth problems on Sunday.
The Pompey boss brought the Nigerian international to English football from Maccabi Haifa during his first spell in charge at Fratton Park in 2003.
The prolific striker then spent two-and-a-half goal-laden seasons on the South Coast before joining Middlesbrough in 2005 and eventually the Toffees at the start of the current campaign.
With both sides currently pushing hard to ensure European football for next season Redknapp knows that it is vital his players nullify the threat posed by Yakubu when they come face-to-face this weekend.
"Everton are very strong, they are in great form. And Yakubu is on fire," he said.
"He looks fantastic for them.
"People have criticised the Yak, but he has banged in 15 goals in about 24 games, and every year he guarantees you 20 goals."
Redknapp even tried to re-sign the striker during the summer and admits that he was disappointed to be priced out of the market by David Moyes' side.
"I said that Everton paid too much but I was just trying to get him cheaper," he said.
"I felt he wanted out of Middlesbrough and felt there was a cat and mouse game going on, and that maybe he would end up around £8million.
"I was wrong and, in the end Everton did a deal (for £11.25million), but he is a goalscorer and he will always score goals."
Redknapp admits that Sunday's encounter will be vital in the race for a top-six finish, but feels that UEFA Champions League qualification may now be out of the equation for his side.
"This is an important game, obviously," he said.
"If we lose, they (Everton) are probably too far away from us, and you can't see us pulling back nine points on them at this stage of the season.
"They have a chance of finishing fourth the way they are going but for us to even be talking about it is almost beyond belief when you think where we were not long ago.
"I've always thought if we can get seventh place and maybe a Uefa Cup spot it would be fantastic but with Spurs winning the Carling Cup and one of the Uefa Cup places it looks like seventh is gone and it will be sixth at best.
"It's a decent run-in for us, but sometimes teams at the bottom who are scrapping for their lives are very difficult opposition although, in all honesty, you would rather be playing them than Arsenal, Chelsea, (Manchester) United and Liverpool."