Tottenham to approach Blackwell for No 2 job

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The Independent Football

Kevin Blackwell, the assistant manager at Leeds United, is favourite to be approached to become Tottenham's No 2 to work with Giovanni Trapattoni, the Italian national coach who is lined up to take over as Spurs manager next season.

Mark Hughes, the Wales manager, was Tottenham's first choice for the assistant's job, but he is reluctant to break his ties with Wales, who face an intriguing World Cup qualifying group that includes England. He rejected Spurs' approaches.

Tottenham are determined to find someone who knows the domestic game to help their new manager to adjust when he arrives in the summer. It is an open secret that Trapattoni is the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy's first choice, but his contract with the Italian side is such that he will not be able to commit himself until after the European Championship.

Blackwell's profile has not been damaged by the disastrous season at Leeds. His reputation was built on his excellent work with Sheffield United, which is why Manchester United have considered him as a No 2 to Sir Alex Ferguson.

Jose Antonio Reyes is set to return to the Arsenal starting line-up at home to Southampton tonight as Dennis Bergkamp has a calf injury. With Fredrik Ljungberg still out with a rib injury, and Sylvain Wiltord, Jérémie Aliadière and Nwankwo Kanu also absent, Reyes will partner Thierry Henry up front.

The England striker James Beattie is in line for a recall to Southampton's attack with Kevin Phillips struggling to recover from an ankle injury he suffered during the 0-0 draw against Fulham on Saturday.

Chris Baird has been put on standby if Jason Dodd fails to overcome a leg injury suffered at the weekend. But the midfielder David Prutton is still out as he serves the final game of a three-match ban while Claus Lundekvam, Neil McCann and Matthew Oakley are all injured.