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.

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