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Rediff.com  » Sports » Spurs face injury crisis

Spurs face injury crisis

May 06, 2006 14:32 IST
Tottenham Hotspur could be without six first team players when they attempt to secure fourth place in the Premier League at West Ham United on Sunday.

Michael Carrick and Robbie Keane are struggling with ankle injuries, Mido still has a knee problem while Paul Stalteri has joined Jermaine Jenas and Ledley King on the sidelines.

A Tottenham win guarantees fourth spot and a place in the Champions League qualifying rounds unless arch-rivals Arsenal beat Barcelona in the Champions League final on May 17.

Asked on Friday if midfielder Carrick would be fit, Jol told reporters: "We're hopeful. He didn't train today or this week but hopefully he can train tomorrow and will have a late test."

Jol also said he would reject any bids for Carrick, who has been linked with a move to Manchester United.

Ireland striker Keane is unlikely to play after twisting his ankle in last week's win over Bolton Wanderers while Egypt forward Mido has not recovered from a knee problem.

"We'll try him (Keane) again tomorrow but I think it's still a 90/10 chance against that he'll make it," said Jol. "Mido hasn't trained for three weeks but we will try to do something tomorrow and have another late test."

Jermain Defoe, in his first return to Upton Park since leaving for Spurs in January 2004, should be partnered up front by 21-year-old Lee Barnard who replaced Keane last Sunday.

HOSTILE RECEPTION

Defoe is likely to face a hostile reception, having angered West Ham fans by asking for a transfer immediately after they were relegated to the second division in 2003.

Jol believes the England striker can cope with the atmosphere.

"He's big enough to take it," said Tottenham's Dutch coach. "He's a good player. There's maybe only one or two players who get that sort of reception and I think (former West Ham midfielder) Michael Carrick will have the same to be honest."

Another Tottenham injury victim is Canada right back Stalteri, who is out with a knee problem.

Carrick's England team mates Jenas and King are unavailable with a shin injury and broken foot respectively.

The only good news is the return of Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids after suspension.

Spurs are a point above Arsenal with one game left and Arsene Wenger's team, who host Wigan Athletic in their final game at Highbury on Sunday, have a much better goal difference.

Jol considers Sunday's game his most important as a manager.

Asked if he would get the score relayed from Highbury, Jol said: "We have to focus on our own match and we have to win.

"It would be a dream scenario if we draw and they lose but I can't imagine that because Arsenal are playing so well."

Ken Ferris
Source:
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