Defoe confident ahead of Aston Villa clash

Striker Jermain Defoe feels Tottenham are playing well enough to beat Aston Villa or anyone else as they continue their quest for a Champions League spot.

Both Spurs and Villa are battling for fourth in the Barclays Premier League and tomorrow's game at White Hart Lane could prove vital in the final shake-up.

"That's a big game for us, a massive game," said Defoe, whose side currently occupy fourth. "Villa are a good side, they've got a great manager and they're playing well.

"But the way we're playing we're confident going into every game."

Another side in the hunt for fourth are Manchester City, who could have new signing Adam Johnson on the bench when they travel to Hull tomorrow.

Nedum Onuoha is backing the former Middlesbrough man to make an impact.

"Whenever we played Boro at whatever level as a defender you were always pleased if Adam's name wasn't on the team sheet," he told www.mcfc.co.uk.

"He is a player capable of controlling games and the step back up to the Premier League will not bother him."

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce could hand Alan Hutton a debut against Wigan tomorrow with injury problems still hampering his plans.

Bruce recruited Hutton on loan from Tottenham, as well as signing Sheffield United's Matthew Kilgallon, during the transfer window with his defensive resources having been stretched for months.

Phil Bardsley and John Mensah are both struggling with hamstring injuries, and that could mean a start at right-back for Hutton.

Bruce said: "If I do bring in Alan to make his debut, that would be the 15th different back four in 24 games, which is quite remarkable in terms of injuries and suspensions to your defenders.

"But that's why we have brought a couple in. We have made sure we have got adequate cover there because it has been quite unbelievable the number of injuries we have had, particularly to defenders."

Bolton manager Owen Coyle has promised to give supporters value for money at the Reebok Stadium.

Even though his side are facing a relegation battle - they entertain Fulham tomorrow - he wants flowing football.

Coyle said: "We recognise when you have home backing and people work hard all week to support you, you want to give them something to shout about.

"Its an exciting month but one we are looking forward to. When we are at home we have to use that to our advantage."

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce is hoping his side, who have managed just one away win this season, start to get some luck on the road when they visit Stoke.

He said: "You would look at our away record results-wise and say, 'what a poor season Blackburn Rovers are having away from home'.

"But on reflection, the performances have not been that bad at all."

Burnley boss Brian Laws, whose side entertain West Ham tomorrow, accepts his six January signings have something to prove.

"It's a massive motivational factor and I like the fact that people have got something to prove because I know I'm going to get everything out of them," he said.

"They are coming here for the right reasons rather than the wrong reasons, so they were prime targets for me."

On Sunday, Birmingham host local rivals Wolves, before Arsenal travel to Chelsea in the afternoon's big title clash.

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
i100
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?