Board has not made plans for Jol's exit, insists Levy

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The Independent Football

The Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy yesterday insisted the club's board have not held an emergency meeting over Martin Jol's future, despite the speculation surrounding the manager's position. He also denies that a compensation package has been agreed for Jol to leave when a replacement is found.

Levy said: "There has been no board meeting, let alone any emergency board meeting, and reports that we have agreed a compensation package with Martin are wholly inaccurate – we have not even discussed the subject and there is no reason to do so.

"We will not allow ourselves to be side-tracked or undermined by external agendas or media hype. Our focus is on winning games."

To that end Jol has hinted at recalling the striker, Jermain Defoe, to his squad for the Carling Cup tie against Middlesbrough tonight. Defoe's place in the pecking order has contributed to a season characterised by internal problems at White Hart Lane, with serious concerns over Jol's long-term future after he appeared to be undermined by his board. The Dutchman insists he is not going to quit – describing those suggestions as "a load of rubbish" – but his position has looked in limbo as Spurs continue to be linked with other managers, including Juande Ramos last month and Jose Mourinho last week.

The Carling Cup third-round tie against Boro offers a chance to recall Defoe, who has not made the match-day squad for the last two league games, as well as Gareth Bale.

"We've got a few options when it comes to the starting line-up, Aaron Lennon is fine and fit for selection, along with Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale," Jol said. "We will make some changes, but we will always field a strong team."

Jol's failure to keep Defoe happy has been one of the criticisms he has faced. Jol argues that Defoe started more league games than Robbie Keane last season, but he clearly favours Keane and Dimitar Berbatov for important games, and Darren Bent has added competition.

Spurs played 21 cup games last season and Jol was looking at following the "big four" by making sweeping changes for Carling Cup games to help league form this time around, yet any victory will be welcomed as Spurs have only beaten Derby and Anorthosis Famagusta so far in the current campaign and are in the bottom three of the Premier League.

"It was not the easiest of draws for us, but we are at home and that is what you want," Jol said.

"For us it is important, we want to get into the next round with a win at the Lane in front of our supporters."

An injury to Mido means Jol is unlikely to be reunited with the striker he persuaded to stay in January before allowing him to go before the transfer window closed in August.

Mido is joined on the Boro sidelines by Julio Arca but Jol expects a stern test. "Middlesbrough have got a good team and a tremendous track record in developing young players, but they also have considerable experience," he said.

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