Football: Graham pins FA Cup hopes on Ginola

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The Independent Online
GEORGE GRAHAM is still confident that David Ginola can keep Tottenham in the FA Cup - even though he will have to suffer the ordeal of playing in front of his former Newcastle fans at St James' Park.

Ginola was shackled by his French compatriot Laurent Charvet's dedicated marking at White Hart Lane on Sunday as the Magpies salvaged a replay after Gary Speed earned them a 1-1 third-round draw with a late equaliser. Steffen Iversen had given Spurs the lead.

Graham refuses to believe Tottenham can not win the replay and sees Ginola as the man who can turn the match a week tomorrow. "In the last few games he's been excellent and when he's in this form he needs to be on the ball a lot," Graham said. "If we can give him possession David is always capable of being a match-winner for us.

"It was very disappointing not to win first time after taking the lead against Newcastle, but it is better to have a replay than to be knocked out. We slipped up in just 15 crazy minutes in the second-half when we suddenly seemed afraid of their set-pieces and we will have to work on that because that's been happening too much lately.

"But we played some quality football at times and dominated the first half. That pleased me because I think most pundits expected Newcastle to come here and win fairly comfortably. Now we will just have to go up there and finish the job."

Tottenham will have both Tim Sherwood and Mauricio Taricco back from suspension - and probably the injured Oyvind Leonhardsen who has groin and knee problems - for the replay. The game is the first of three over the forthcoming holiday period for Spurs.

Nolberto Solano, the talented Peruvian, will be back from suspension for Newcastle, but Ginola is still the man Tottenham believe can drag them out of a barren patch which has now stretched to four matches without a win. The former St James' Park favourite is clearly not fazed by the prospect of another run-in with the Toon Army following his comments about Alan Shearer "playing on his name".

Asked if he wanted to heal the rift with Shearer, Ginola insisted: "I have no reason to talk to him about anything. He is still a good player and I have never said that he isn't. There is no problem with myself and Alan Shearer."

That is clearly not the opinion of the Newcastle fans as Ginola was lustily jeered throughout Tottenham's 2-1 Premiership defeat on Tyneside two weeks ago.