The Tottenham manager, Harry Redknapp, is facing a defensive injury crisis ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Real Madrid, with four central defenders likely to miss the game.
Ledley King, Jonathan Woodgate and Younès Kaboul are all out and William Gallas is struggling to be fit. King requires a second operation on a groin injury which has kept him out since October, while Gallas is still suffering from a knee injury picked up in training last month. Woodgate has played just 31 minutes of first-team football for Spurs in 16 months and picked up a calf injury in a friendly with Barnet on Tuesday. "We started the year with six central defenders – now we have two," Redknapp said, with tomorrow's League match at Wigan to come before the trip to Spain. "We have lost Ledley, it looks like he will have to have an operation that will finish his season.
"Woodgate was making progress but got a calf injury and Kaboul is out with a thigh strain. Gallas has been for a scan and we are down to just Michael Dawson and Sébastien Bassong."
Gareth Bale's participation in Madrid also remains in doubt. The 21-year-old missed Wales' defeat by England with a hamstring strain. "Gareth worked with the coaches and looked OK," Redknapp said. "Whether he is OK to play two games in three days is doubtful."
The importance of the Champions League to Spurs – and the need to qualify again this season – is laid bare by their latest financial results. The club posted a £4.2m profit, compared to a £6.1m loss in 2009, largely thanks to revenue increasing 49 per cent in the final six months of last year with qualification for this season's Champions League the key factor.
But with that rise in revenue, £79.8m from £53.3m at the same stage last year, came increased operating costs, from £48.6m to £61.5m – hence the desire to repeat the Champions League odyssey next season.
Merchandise sales went up by 22 per cent and sponsorship and corporate hospitality revenue grew from £12.7m to £16m. "Our first-half figures reflect a strong performance," chairman Daniel Levy said.