With injury doubts still hovering over some of the squad’s most important players Jan Vertonghen has said that he hopes Spurs will be able to field a full strength side soon. Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Younes Kaboul and Scott Parker have all been out with long term injuries, and Dembele and Adebayor are also doubts for the Southampton game.
Both Dembele and Adebayor will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s game, with hopes that the Belgian in particular will be fit to play in the middle of the park. Brad Friedel didn’t travel to Slovenia for Thursday’s match as Villas-Boas rotated his keepers but which of Lloris and the American keeper will start on Sunday is anyone’s guess.
One man who will return to face his former club is Gareth Bale. The Welsh winger has been on paternity leave and missed the games against Chelsea and Maribor but is set to return to the starting line up on Sunday. Bale has been lauded by many for his recent performances for Wales, and the national side manager Chris Coleman has sung his praises again, describing Bale as world class.
Real Madrid are one club who have taken note of Bale’s impressive form, and there is speculation Mourinho’s side will make a bid for the winger in the summer. Luka Modric, who made the switch from Spurs to Madrid in the summer, has urged Bale to join him.
Southampton will be missing record signing Gaston Ramirez for Spurs’ visit, along with Frazer Richardson and Jack Cork. With the worst defensive record in the league, Southampton are in 18th position in the Premier League ahead of the weekend’s match.
Despite Thursday night’s lacklustre draw in Slovenia, Andre Villas-Boas has said he is confident Spurs will qualify from their Europa league group. A late equaliser for Panathanaikos against Lazio means that all four teams in the group can still qualify, and Villas-Boas is drawing comfort from the fact Spurs have two home games to come:
“The group is completely open. What we face now is two games at home and we are in a good position in the group. We are in third position. We have three games to play, there are nine points to play for.”
Villas-Boas also singled out Iago Falque for praise after the match yesterday. The Spanish youngster came on at half-time and provided the cross that led to Sigurdsson’s equaliser. That was Falque’s second senior appearance this season, having also played against Carlisle in the Capital One Cup.
image: © andybrannan