Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Monday January 26 2009
White Hart Lane
27th January 2009
Stoke return from a five day break in Dubai with another trip to London and a chance to make amends for letting a potential 1-0 victory turn into a late 2-1 defeat against Chelsea ten days ago. Spurs are hardly setting the Premier League alight this season and lie just above the Potters on goal difference and both clubs will see a win as vital in their quest to avoid relegation. The early effects of Harry Redknapp's arrival at White Hart Lane seem to have long gone and they haven't won in the League since a 2-0 victory at West Ham back in early December.
Stoke will be buoyed by the return of Ricardo Fuller from suspension and he'll join new signing James Beattie up front and how these two perform together could dictate the Potters' fortunes over the second half of the season.
Understatement of the day from the Spurs' boss: 'It's an important game'.
Spurs have eight players either already ruled out or doubtful ahead of the match: Skipper, Ledley King , Alan Hutton and Jamie O'Hara are all out. Gomas is also out but will be replaced by Carlo Cudicini who signed from Chelsea just in time to start tomorrow. Jermaine Jenas, Darren Bent, Jonathan Woodgate and Luka Modric are all struggling for fitness.
The Manchester United starlet is on loan after being sent in part exchange for Berbatov back in September. He wasn't allowed to play against his parent club in Saturday's FA Cup defeat against United and may be given an opportunity to start against the Potters.
Salif Diao and Danny Higginbotham are both doubts. Diao had to return early from Dubai to get treatment for a calf strain and Higginbotham had not been expected to make the trip to the Gulf, as he struggles with a similar problem, but in the end did travel.
A chastened Ricardo returning from suspension has, in the past, given a distinct edge to the Jamaican's play and now would be just the occasion to start to pay back his team mates and fans after his sending off against the Hammers.
Saturday 31st January: Man City (home) kick-off: 12.45pm
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Date:Monday January 26 2009
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