Kevin Phillips has warned his Aston Villa team-mates to beware any team managed by Harry Redknapp ahead of tomorrow's home clash with Portsmouth.
Pompey have been written off as relegation favourites, having won just twice in 12 league games since Redknapp returned to Fratton Park on December 7.
That was a year almost to the day since he had taken over at Pompey's hated rivals Southampton, where he inherited a Saints dressing room containing Phillips.
Although that did not prove a happy experience and Southampton were relegated on the final day of the season, Phillips claims it is wrong to write off Redknapp now.
"He's a good man and a good manager," said Phillips. "And I hope he keeps them up.
"Knowing Harry the way I do, he'll get them going and he'll keep them fighting to the end and this one is a hard game. But he's taken on a tough job again.
"History shows when you go back it's not always as great as the first time and maybe that's starting to show a little bit.
"They obviously thought he was the right man because of what he'd done at Portsmouth before. But perhaps he took over at the moment when the rot had already set in.
"That was what he happened when he took over at Southampton. Everyone said he was the right man but the rot had set in and it was difficult to get out of it. And I can just see the same sort of pattern forming at Portsmouth."
Phillips was not pleased with Redknapp this time a year ago when he found himself sidelined by the arrival at St Mary's of loan signing Henri Camara. But he remains full of respect for one of football's sharpest operators.
"I suppose I was a little bit disappointed because he left me out a few times," said Phillips. "I wouldn't say the players he brought in weren't up to it, but maybe their heart wasn't in it as they'd only come in on loan.
"But I still got on well with Harry. When you're doing the business for him he's great with you.
"He made me captain. And you could always talk to him. If you had any problems he would always listen.
"He's a bit of a character. But, as everyone knows, really he's just a bloke who's passionate about football. And I'm sure we'll see a lot more of that passion before this season is over."
Villa, who stand eight points clear of trouble, really should not be at risk. But, while victory would be a major step towards total Premiership security, defeat could leave David O'Leary's side too close to the danger zone for comfort.
"Saturday's a crunch game," acknowledged Phillips. "If we win, it doesn't guarantee safety but you'd fancy us from there on in to start pulling away.
"Two or three wins on the bounce and you could find yourself up to eighth or ninth, it's still so tight. But you can also be sucked in so easily."
Phillips is hoping to get the nod to return after surprisingly being made to spend two games on the sidelines- and he will happily run the gauntlet of the Pompey fans as a Saint if it means he's in the team.
"I may get a little stick being a former Saints player, but really it's water off a duck's back.
"In any case, I only played in two derby games down there and it's nothing to how I feel when I play against Newcastle, as a result of my days at Sunderland.
"It's been a bit frustrating the last two weeks. The manager decided to leave me out for the Cup game against Man City, rightly so because the injury lay-off was starting to catch up with me and I was feeling tired.
"But I thought I did okay when I came on last weekend and, of course, I want to start games.
"I understand where the manager's coming from. You like to have a good asset on the bench and I suppose in me he's got that. But nobody wants to be a bench player.
"Some are happy to sit on the bench and just be squad players but I'm not one of them. And I've been fortunate throughout my career to have spent very little time on the bench."