Carrick in plea to England boss

Tottenham’s Michael Carrick has appealed to England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson to give him another chance on the international scene.

Tottenham’s Michael Carrick has appealed to England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson to give him another chance on the international scene.

Carrick’s form has been a revelation in Tottenham’s midfield since the departure of French coach Jacques Santini after 11 games of this season.

The former West Ham playmaker was ignored by Santini but has flourished under his replacement, Dutchman Martin Jol.

Carrick is now the lynchpin of a rejuvenated Spurs side who take on West Brom in their FA Cup fourth round replay at White Hart Lane tomorrow evening.

The 23-year-old has two England caps to his credit but missed out on the 2002 World Cup finals because of a groin injury and did not figure in Eriksson’s squad for the European Championships last year.

Carrick said: “Once you have a taste of playing for England it makes you more hungry – especially after the way it was taken away from me.

“If I got the chance to get back into the England set-up it would mean more to me now than it did the first time.”

Spurs face Albion without Andy Reid and Michael Dawson who are both cup-tied, Sean Davis (back) and Reto Ziegler (hamstring).

There are fitness doubts over skipper Ledley King and Fredi Kanoute (groin), Anthony Gardner (broken nose), Pedro Mendes (cheekbone) and Noureddine Naybet (groin).

Darren Purse has insisted West Brom can spring a surprise and topple Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Albion were unfortunate not to win the first meeting of the two sides when only a controversial Jermain Defoe penalty gave Spurs a second chance after Robert Earnshaw had put Bryan Robson’s side ahead.

Purse believes Albion can take heart from their encouraging away form - although poor defending has cost them at times.

Purse said: “The tie is not dead and buried just because we failed to win the first game. We know we can go down there and get the result we deserved from the game at The Hawthorns.

“We had a great chance and didn’t take it but we know we are playing some good stuff away and we can finish the job off.”

Club captain Darren Moore is in the squad following a knee injury.

Jason Koumas could make a rare start in midfield with Jonathan Greening suspended, while newcomers Richard Chaplow and Kieran Richardson are ineligible.

Fulham’s giant central defender Zat Knight has warned FA Cup replay rivals Derby County his team are ready to start another unbeaten run.

Fulham had not lost in eight matches during 2005 after looking vulnerable before Christmas, but a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday had manager Chris Coleman berating his defenders.

As far as the 6ft 5ins Knight is concerned, however, the next revival-run starts tomorrow in the fourth round at home to Coca-Cola Championship promotion-chasers Derby.

“The run has come to an end, but it came to an end against a good team,” Knight told Fulham’s official website, www.fulhamfc.com. “Now hopefully we can start it off again this weekend.

“We have got to put the Liverpool defeat behind us, and we know that if we can get past Derby in the cup then we have got an excellent chance of progressing further against Bolton in the fifth round.”

Coleman put the setback down to his young defenders “knocking off” on all three occasions that Liverpool scored although Knight believes injuries and suspensions have played their part.

Fulham will admit they are a little lucky to still be in the cup after Collins John’s late equaliser in a 1-1 draw up at Derby a couple of weeks ago – although they were without Zesh Rehman, Papa Bouba Diop and Carlos Bocanegra, all through suspension.

Knight added: “It does not matter who you play in the cup it’s going to be difficult. And Derby certainly are not going to be easy. They played some nice football at Pride Park and the pitch made a bit difficult for us, but we have got them back at our place now and we will be confident that we can finish them off.”

Derby manager George Burley is under no illusions as to the size of the task.

However, the manager has given the club a boost by quelling speculation he was set to leave after signing a one-year rolling contract to continue the improvement he has already achieved at Pride Park.

The Scotsman has transformed the east midlands side from relegation candidates last season into promotion contenders but maintained he was always going to commit himself to the club.

He said: “There is a lot of work still to be done here but we are heading in the right direction and I am enjoying the challenge of what has been a major rebuilding job since I first took the manager’s job on a full-time basis at the start of last season.”

Burley was upbeat about the replay telling the club’s official website, www.dcfc.co.uk: “It is good still to be in the cup.

“I thought it was a good game at home against Fulham.They have a good squad of players and we know we will have to be at our best at Craven Cottage.”

Burley will be without midfielders Ian Taylor, who starts a three-game ban, and Tom Huddlestone, who serves a one-match suspension.

Centre-half Mo Konjic (knee) will not be risked and left-back Jamie Vincent has a calf injury.

Richard Jackson is out (groin) which means Paul Boertien could be recalled.

Winger Marco Reich is struggling with illness and a calf problem.

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