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Redknapp is relishing the huge challenge at Birmingham

 

By David Nelson

New Birmingham boss Harry Redknapp admits he has dived into the unknown as he bids to keep the club in the Championship. The former Tottenham manager has agreed to take over until the end of the season - just three games away - after Gianfranco Zola quit on Monday.

Brum are three points above the relegation zone after Zola won just two of his 24 games in charge and stepped down after a 2-0 home defeat to Burton.

They go to city rivals Aston Villa on Sunday knowing they could be in the drop zone before kick-off but Redknapp had no hesitation taking the job.

"Birmingham are a team I've not seen much of, they've not been on TV much this year," he said after returning to club management for the first time in over two years. "I tend to dive in. My wife thought I was mad. Everybody I know thinks I'm mad.

"I got a call at 7pm asking if I could come and have a meeting in London. I went over, met them at 9.30pm and by 9.45pm I had no hesitation. It wasn't a case of signing a contract for three weeks, I shook hands and said I would do it, no problem.

"It's a big club and it's a challenge, a big challenge. After I looked at the fixtures I thought it was an even bigger challenge.

"It's not easy. All I can do is try and install some confidence - two wins in 24 games is there for all to see. That has to improve."

The Blues are winless in their last nine games ahead of Sunday's trip to Villa Park and Redknapp heads into the game with his most recent job being coaching a local Under-10s team.

He said: "I went over to the park two weeks ago and coached some under 10s. A guy came and did a bit of work at my house and started telling me how he coaches his little boy's team and if I'd come over. I love it. While I'm still fit enough to do it and wanted I'll pop up somewhere.

"Villa's a tough game to start with, a local derby and it will be a great atmosphere. I'm sure Steve Bruce will do a good job in the long run but Birmingham's a big club too and should be pushing for the Premier League."

Former Cheltenham manager Steve Cotterill and ex-Bournemouth boss Paul Groves will work as assistants at St Andrew's with Redknapp saying they must win one against Villa, Huddersfield or Bristol City to survive.

"The other teams are going to win some games. We're going to have to win one of the three games, at least," he said.

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