Tottenham could be without several of their stars, including Emmanuel Adebayor, for this weekend’s north London derby at Arsenal, manager Harry Redknapp has revealed.
Redknapp had to make a number of changes to his line-up for yesterday’s FA Cup fifth round game at Stevenage and the difference was telling as Spurs could only muster a lacklustre 0-0 draw against the npower League One minnows.
Redknapp revealed after the match that he had been forced to exclude Luka Modric, Adebayor and Benoit Assou-Ekotto due to a mixture of injury and illness.
Modric has been suffering from flu all week and missed the game while Assou-Ekotto underwent an operation last Monday to cure a groin problem.
Adebayor, meanwhile, twisted his knee in training last Friday, and is now a major doubt for Sunday’s game against his former employers at the Emirates Stadium.
Rafael van der Vaart and Sandro both missed the game at the Lamex Stadium and are doubts for next weekend – something Redknapp could do without considering how important the match is to Tottenham’s season.
“Benoit had a small operation at the start of the week so he wasn’t available (yesterday),” Redknapp said.
“He should be fit but we will have to see with Adebayor. He did his knee on Friday morning. He twisted it. We thought he might have opened his ligament up but it’s not too bad.
“Luka had an unbelievable temperature. He was really ill this week. That left us short. Ledley King was on the bench and he wasn’t fit.
“Niko Kranjcar had been rough all week as well. He only came in and trained yesterday.”
Redknapp’s men would take a huge step towards guaranteeing Champions League qualification with a win over their bitter rivals, who are in the midst of a poor run of form and 10 points behind Spurs with 13 games to go.
Despite Arsenal’s poor displays of late, Tottenham know they will have to up their game considerably if they are to beat Arsene Wenger’s side next weekend.
Spurs were poor yesterday, showing no glimpses whatsoever of the type of play which saw them hammer Newcastle 5-0 last week.
Stevenage, who began the day 47 places below Spurs in the league ladder, controlled large parts of the game thanks to dogged tackling in midfield and, to a lesser extent, their bobbly pitch, which the visitors struggled to get to grips with.
The reward for Gary Smith’s men is a replay on March 7, with the visit of Bolton awaiting the winners in the quarter-finals.
“Our lads were fantastic today,” Smith said.
“Of course we have a chance of winning (the replay). It will be a very different game, but the display here has given us belief.”