STEVE Cotterill and Harry Redknapp go into tonight's Turf Moor tie as the best of friends.

Burnley boss Cotterill just hopes he comes out the other side of it on speaking terms with his Portsmouth counterpart.

"I just hope there's not too many tackles. I don't want to be having a row with him by the end of the game about one of his lads tackling mine or one of mine tackling his. We might have to just let them get on with it and sort it out," contemplated Cotterill, who struck up an instant rapport with the 60-year-old on meeting through their respective connections with Bournemouth in the early 1990s.

Cotterill signed for the Cherries a year after Redknapp had resigned at the end of the 1991-92 season.

"I never played under him, I just became good friends with him through living down there and seeing him around.

"He's always been there as a sounding board for me when you feel as though you want to speak to somebody older in the game whose opinions you would like to take.

"If I can be in the game as long as he has that will be fantastic, and then there might be some younger manager perhaps wanting to say that Steve Cotterill's a football man. Because I am, that's probably what's drawn me to him.

"He's just a good man. He's a football man - loves his football. There won't be a game on or around him or on the television that he won't watch.

"This isn't just a job for him, he's got a real passion for it.

"It's just great to be playing against his team here.

"His teams always play good football."

And Cotterill revealed how, while manager of Cheltenham, he considered becoming Redknapp's number two during his first spell in charge of Portsmouth.

"There was a time where there was an opportunity for me to go down there," he said.

"I think with all of that you have to bear in mind the relationship and sometimes the relationships, under work, break down, and I wouldn't have wanted to lose Harry as a friend for the sake of going down there and perhaps working with him.

"That was a decision I had to make.

"We chatted about it and he was great.

"What I would liked to have done was worked under Harry before I became a manager. I think it's really difficult when you've become a manager to then be an assistant.

"I think that what I could have learnt off him I would rather have learnt before I became a manager. I think it's harder after that.

"But it would have just been interesting to have worked with him, because I'm sure, even now, I would certainly learn quite a few things.

"He's a very experienced Premiership manager and he's done well wherever he's been."

Although Redknapp is expected to ring the changes tonight, Cotterill is wary of the threat they pose.

"We know it's a good side we're up against."