Tottenham eye Premier title race ahead of FA Cup bow
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Jermain Defoe scored Spurs’ only goal against WBA earlier this week. AP photoTottenham supporters traditionally view the FA Cup as the trophy they have the best chance of winning, and only Manchester United and Arsenal have celebrated more victories in the final over the decades.
This season, however, the famous old competition has been relegated to secondary importance at White Hart Lane ahead of the visit of League Two promotion candidates Cheltenham Town on Jan. 6.
Harry Redknapp’s side is currently third in the Premier League, six points behind leaders Manchester City and three behind Manchester United.
The team is in impressive form and boasts a game in hand on both rivals.
Redknapp himself is convinced that his squad has a fair chance of ending the season as champions.
“We are there or thereabouts, we just have to keep believing, keep going,” he said. “You never know. I’ve said all along that nothing is impossible.”
As a result, Redknapp has already confirmed he will rest first-choice picks for the visit of the Robins, who are currently second in League Two and will bring 52 coach-loads of supporters from Gloucestershire for the occasion.
England internationals Michael Dawson and Aaron Lennon have been pencilled in for comebacks from injury - centre-back Dawson has been out since August with an Achilles problem - and other fringe men, including Niko Kranjcar and Roman Pavlyuchenko, will get starts.
“I have to rest a few, I can’t keep playing the same players,” Redknapp said. “We have a tough run coming up.”
“Hopefully Michael will play on Saturday, and Aaron could be fit. He’s training so we have to get a game into him on Saturday if we can. People like Steven Pienaar and Danny Rose will play. Kranjcar needs a game and then there’s Pavlyuchenko. They will play.”
Redknapp must choose between Carlo Cudicini or Heurelho Gomes in goal while Sebastien Bassong and Vedran Corluka are set to join Dawson at the back.
Jake Livermore, Tom Carroll and Giovani Dos Santos will play and it is likely that Jermain Defoe, who scored the only goal against West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, will continue up front as he has only just recovered from injury.