By Danny Wright
Harry Redknapp believes that Aston Villa fans create one of the most hostile atmospheres he has come across in his management career.
The 70-year-old will manage his first game in charge of Birmingham in the feisty second-city derby at Villa Park on Sunday and he is totally aware of what to expect from the home supporters.
He was named as Gianfranco Zola’s successor less than 24 hours after the Italian boss made his resignation public on Monday after their latest loss to Burton.
Villa Park has not proved a friendly place to Redknapp in his career as he claimed nine years ago that a coin was launched in his direction while he was in charge of Portsmouth.
“My new job at Birmingham starts with a very difficult trip to Aston Villa and in terms of getting personal abuse, it is probably one of the worst grounds for me,” said Redknapp on the London Evening Standard website.
“I’m not sure why — I guess I’ve had quite a good record there over the years.
“There was a game there with Portsmouth in 2008, which marked my 25th year as a manager, when someone threw a coin at me but it hit the linesman.
“It’ll be pretty hostile for my first game given it’s a second city derby — there’s obviously no love lost there between the two sides and I guess I don’t help it.”
Aston Villa will go into Sunday’s game knowing that they can pile the misery on their second-city rivals, who are plummeting down the Championship standings.
If Blackburn and Nottingham Forest manage to win their fixtures, Blues will find themselves in the bottom three with two games to play should they suffer defeat to Steve Bruce’s men.
Villa do not have a lot to play for in their remaining matches, although finishing in the top-half of the table would be a mere consolation for what has been a poor season by their standards.
In other Aston Villa news, a Sky Sports pundit has predicted how events will unfold on Sunday.