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Thursday, January 4, 2007
Redknapp stunned by exit of Chissick

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp has admitted his 'surprise' at club vice-chairman David Chissick's resignation - just a few months after being appointed to the board of directors by new owner Alexandre Gaydamak.

Chissick, who has written a regular column in the club's programme and been the link between board and staff since French property magnate Gaydamak bought out previous owner Milan Mandaric earlier this season, quit on Wednesday night following rumours of a fall-out with the owner, a long-term business associate.

Redknapp, who insists he does not know the Premiership club's budget for the January transfer window, said: 'I knew nothing about this until the other night. It has all come as a surprise to me.

'(Chissick) was certainly hands-on here. He came to the matches and also the training ground several times. But I don't know what has happened or why. I wouldn't have a clue.'

The news comes as Redknapp prepares to strengthen his squad during the transfer window.

He said: 'I just presume I will be able to come up with a few names and that (chief executive) Peter Storrie will put them to the owner and see if we can do some deals.'

But Redknapp has denied reports of his interest in West Ham midfielder Yossi Benayoun and Bolton defender Tal Ben Haim, both Israel internationals.

He said: 'I can't see either of them moving - except to Chelsea.'

Redknapp claims he advised Gaydamak that a 12million Benfica demand for the permament signing of on-loan midfielder Manuel Fernandes was too much for Pompey.

Now world governing body FIFA may become involved following Benfica's complaints about Portsmouth, claiming the rules of the loan agreement had been changed by the Lisbon club.

Redknapp said: 'For me the only stumbling block was the price. If a more realistic one could be agreed I would take the player.'

Fernandes, who has made nine first-team starts and three substitute appearances, trained with Pompey for the last time on Thursday before returning to Portugal.

Meanwhile, Pompey's Bulgarian striker Svetoslav Todorov appears to have missed out on the chance of facing Wigan in the third round of the FA Cup tomorrow - after returning from a four-month loan spell at the JJB Stadium.

Fratton Park crowd favourite Todorov had to drop out of training on Thursday with a groin injury and Redknapp, anxious to rest Nigerian ace Kanu, looks set to pick Benjani Mwaruwari and Andy Cole in attack.

With defender Noe Pamarot out for a month with a torn groin muscle, Matt Taylor will switch from midfield to left-back and David Thompson, released by Wigan at the end of last season and then signed on a free transfer by Redknapp, could start.

The manager said: 'Of course we are taking the FA Cup seriously. Some clubs with greater priorities might have devalued it a bit in the past but we would love a run in it at this club.

'We are doing well in the league but this is another chance to get into Europe and I would love to be involved in a final for the first time.'

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