Emmanuel Adebayor has told Tottenham Hotspur staff that he is ready to play in Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie against Arsenal, having been carried off on a stretcher during the victory over Manchester United on Wednesday.
Spurs’ man of the moment, the scorer of their first goal in the 2-1 win, was a major doubt after the match at Old Trafford but was in much better shape at the club’s training ground on Thursday and will be a key figure as they prepare to face Arsenal in the stand-out game of the round.
He suffered from cramp in his groin during the game at United and is still coming up to speed with his fitness, having been all but frozen out of first-team contention under Andre Villas-Boas.
Adebayor has scored four goals for new manager Tim Sherwood in five games and will start against his former club on Saturday at the Emirates, where he will get the usual hostile reception. With Jermain Defoe injured and Roberto Soldado still unable to hit a run of goalscoring form, Sherwood is relying on Adebayor to lead the attack as the club struggles with a number of injuries to key players.
There is little possibility of any of those injured players returning for tomorrow’s tie, with Andros Townsend the closest. The England winger damaged a hamstring in the Capital One Cup quarter-final defeat to West Ham United and is pushing for a return but the club believe he needs more time.
Beyond him, Sandro and Paulinho are still three weeks away from fitness while Jan Vertonghen, a key figure, may only be able to return from a knee problem at the end of the month.
There is little prospect of Lewis Holtby, who has a knee injury, or Younes Kaboul being back for the weekend either. Sherwood has put his trust thus far in the young players who worked under him with the club’s under-21s, giving chances to Nabil Bentaleb and Harry Kane, both of whom made substitute appearances in the win at Old Trafford.
Despite the injury problems, there is a reluctance for Spurs to do any major transfer business this month with such a big squad at the new manager’s disposal. The belief is that there are more than enough players to see them through the season when they get the majority back to fitness.
The Spurs left-back Danny Rose said that Sherwood’s switch to a system that includes two strikers had made a major difference. “No disrespect to Andre, but playing one up front has been a bit frustrating and hard for Soldado at times,” Rose said. “It is just nice that he has got a bit of help up there with Adebayor.
“The first season under Harry Redknapp there were no questions about his [Adebayor’s] attitude. Last season, I wasn’t here so I don’t know what happened. When I came back pre-season, his attitude was fine.
“Obviously there was a bit of a disagreement between him and Andre but it is finished now. We are all grateful he is back in the team. He hasn’t got a point to prove, although he is playing as if he has. He looks fresh and he is causing teams a lot of trouble.”