But Redknapp expects the Mali international to respond positively to the challenge.
"His form dipped a little bit before he went away. The Liverpool game was a disappointment. And now there's Jermaine Jenas, there's Park, there's Granero and Mbia - we've got a group of them central midfielders.
"But Samba's a good lad, and I like him and he's training well. I guess he could be in the team anytime."