Worries about the extent of the groin injury Darren Anderton sustained during Tottenham's 3-2 win at Queens Park Rangers on Monday night have receded after a visit to a specialist, who confirmed that the damage was nothing worse than a strain.
The England midfielder had feared it could be a recurrence of the hernia trouble that forced him to undergo eve-of-the-season surgery. He missed the first three matches of the season.
Tottenham failed to win any of those matches but Anderton's return has coincided with a dramatic revival bringing four successive victories. "Darren is a very important player for us and we don't want to lose him again," theTottenham manager, Gerry Francis, said. He is hoping his midfield linchpin could even be fit for the visit of Wimbledon on Saturday.
Terry Venables will also welcome the Anderton verdict. The England coach is scheduled to announce his squad for the friendly match in Norway next month on Tuesday and Anderton is just as important to him tactically as he is to Spurs.
Venables was at Loftus Road to see Teddy Sheringham bid for an England recall with two goals, taking his tally for the season to nine.
"He's right on top of his form," Francis said. "Teddy is an intelligent footballer who comes deep to set up others. He is a great finisher adept at bringing others into the game - a real leader of the line."
Even more satisfying for Francis, however, is the way Sheringham's partnership with the pounds 4.5m man, Chris Armstrong has started to blossom.
Sheringham's two goals brought Spurs back from a 2-0 deficit to register their fourth successive win. They looked dead and buried when Danny Dichio headed Rangers in front with Andrew Impey taking advantage of some sloppy defending to make it 2-0 immediately after the restart. But the referee, David Elleray, judged Karl Ready guilty of a foul when he collided with Sheringham, and the England striker cut the deficit from a 47th-minute penalty. Jason Dozzell levelled and Sheringham completed the Spurs fightback by heading his seventh goal of the season after Armstrong had eluded challenges from Danny Maddix and Impey.
Rangers manager Ray Wilkins said: "Our lads didn't think it was a penalty. We played some good football but gave away bad goals.
"Sheringham's winner was down to a comedy of errors. Perhaps we go to sleep at the wrong times and people take advantage. We have got to roll our sleeves up instead of just being cheesed off."
Wilkins had earlier introduced Rangers striker Mark Hateley as his new pounds 1.5m signing. He denied reports that the 6ft 2in Hateley - who was capped 32 times by England - had been lined up for a coaching role at Loftus Road, insisting: "That has not even been discussed."
Hateley, 33, said: "At this stage of my career I'm looking for a new challenge. I now have the challenge of playing in the Premiership. Talking about it sets my pulse racing."
Meanwhile, James Moffat, the majority shareholder at Kilmarnock, has thrown a cloud over attempts to sell the club after the chairman Bob Fleeting had invited offers. Moffat owns 48 per cent of Kilmarnock and said yesterday that he was not prepared to sell out in full.
"My shares are not for sale. I wouldn't mind them being diluted, but I came aboard Kilmarnock six years ago to take them forward and we will only do that with more cash," he said.