TOTTENHAM manager Harry Redknapp insists he will attempt to persuade striker Roman Pavlyuchenko that his future remains at White Hart Lane after the Russia international secured three points yesterday with his first Premier League goal of the season.
Sunderland, buoyed by the recent managerial appointment of Martin O’Neill, proved obdurate opponents but were undone by Pavyluchenko’s clinically taken strike on the hour mark.
The 30-year-old (right) has found first-team opportunities hard to come by since the summer arrival of Emmanuel Adebayor and has been linked with an £8m move to Lokomotiv Moscow in January, but Redknapp is keen for him to stay and fight for his place in the side.
“I’d like to keep him here. He’s a fantastic player, he’s a great striker of the ball and when he’s on his game he’s top drawer,” said Redknapp. “But you’ve got Rafael van der Vaart, Jermain Defoe, you’ve got Pav and you’ve got Adebayor and you can’t play them all.
“But you need them as was shown today. We lose a couple of strikers and he comes off the bench and wins the game for us.”
Pavyluchenko certainly proved his worth with 30 minutes remaining when he latched onto Van der Vaart’s clever reverse pass and beat Kieran Westwood with a low strike that fizzed into the far corner.
The win saw Spurs move back into third and leapfrog Chelsea, who visit White Hart Lane on Thursday evening, when the home side could be without Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Defoe.
Redknapp added: “Gareth’s not too bad; he’s just got a sprain of the ankle, we have to see how he is. Jermain doesn’t feel too bad. He’s got a minor hamstring tear. Aaron tore a hamstring so he definitely won’t be back for Thursday.”