Harry Redknapp could face abuse in live Tottenham v Watford match on ESPN

As Redknapp steps back into the dugout for live TV clash, ESPN prepares for fans' taunts in match coverage

Broadcasters ESPN are on alert ahead of Harry Redknapp's return to the touchline on live TV.

The Spurs manager, who has been in court all week for the trial at which he is accused of tax evasion, will be back in the dugout for the FA Cup clash against Watford on Friday night.

There are fears that Redknapp will face a torrent of abuse at Vicarage Road amid the ongoing case at Southwark Crown Court.

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Spotlight: Harry Redknapp outside court with his son Jamie on Thursday

Spotlight: Harry Redknapp outside court with his son Jamie on Thursday

An ESPN spokesman said: 'Our
commitment is always to serve fans with the best coverage of the match,
and to bring them closer to the action.

'Equally, we are very mindful of our
responsibilities as a broadcaster and to Ofcom’s rules, and will take
all appropriate actions from a production standpoint.

'Live sport is unpredictable – and
with that comes challenges – but we have an experienced team in place
that knows how to handle live sports and events.'

Redknapp – who denies the charges is is facing in court – was abused by fans at Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League last year ahead of his trial.

During the match he made a clenched-fist gesture at the home supporters and later criticised their chants.

He said: 'I can't repeat what they
were saying. I am not allowed to repeat what they were saying to me. I
didn't do anything to them, no.

'I have spent enough time in Ireland
to know what lovely people they are. If you go and meet them afterwards
they are probably lovely people.

'But they get together and shout a load of nonsense and that is football. That's life. I don't hold any grudges.'

Redknapp has vowed to take charge of
team affairs for the match against Championship side Watford despite the
huge distraction of his court case.

Spurs coach Kevin Bond, who has been
overseeing preparations with Joe Jordan, says the manager has no problem
stepping out at the match.

Raring to go: Tottenham's players train on Thursday morning

Raring to go: Tottenham's players train on Thursday morning

Raring to go: Tottenham's players train on Thursday morning

He said: 'Clearly the manager is not here, but very little (has changed) really.

'The training carries on pretty much
as normal and everybody has been getting on with things as normal so
there's not really a lot of difference except obviously Harry is not
here during the day.

'We had a similar scenario a few
weeks ago when Harry had a small (heart) procedure done and he wasn't
here for a week or so leading up to the Fulham game.'

Bond and Redknapp usually make the 250-mile round trip from Dorset to Chigwell together, but the Spurs boss has been staying in London this week during the trial, which is expected to finish at the end of next week.

The pair have been talking on the phone twice a day, however, with Redknapp keen to know how his players are getting on following last weekend's agonising 3-2 defeat to Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City.

City won the match in injury-time thanks to a penalty from Mario Balotelli, who has since been banned for four games for a stamp on Scott Parker that went unpunished at the time.

Bond admits Spurs now only have a slim chance of winning their first championship in 51 years.

'The City result and the way it came was a kick in the teeth,' he said. 'We are eight points adrift (of City) so strictly speaking we are probably not (in the title race), but in three or four games' time that might be different. Hopefully we can get closer to them than we are now and then we would be back in it.'

Thoughts of any fightback in the league will have to wait until Tuesday's match against Wigan as Spurs face a tough hurdle against Sean Dyche's men.

Trial: Milan Mandaric arrives at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday

Trial: Milan Mandaric arrives at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday

Gareth Bale (thigh), Scott Parker
(hamstring) and Younes Kaboul (groin) are all doubts after coming off in training on Wednesday, but it is likely that none of the trio
would have played as Redknapp is likely to rest several of his star
players.

Champions League qualification
remains Spurs' main priority, meaning the likes of Steven Pienaar, Danny
Rose and Niko Kranjcar should get some game time, but Bond
insists resting key players does not mean the club are not taking the FA
Cup seriously.

'Champions League is our No 1 goal, but the FA Cup is hugely important to us,' the 54-year-old said.

'As a youngster when you played, you
didn't dream about finishing in the top four so you could play in the
Champions League, you all dreamed about playing at Wembley and lifting
the cup. The players crave a cup final. They crave playing in the big
games, the one-off games.'

Watford looked to be npower Championship play-off contenders until a recent poor run of form left them 18th in the table.

Bond still expects a tough game from the Hornets, however.

'We are fully aware of how difficult a
game it will be for us,' he said. 'It's Sean Dyche's first job as a
manager and he has done very well there.'

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