Huddlestone injury blow to Spurs' bid for top-four finish

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tom Huddlestone has suffered damage to his ankle ligaments and will visit a specialist this week to determine how long he will be sidelined and whether his World Cup hopes are in jeopardy.

The 23-year-old, who made his England debut last November in the defeat to Brazil, picked up the injury in the victory over Everton that sent Spurs back into the top four of the Premier League on Sunday. Huddlestone could not stand on his right foot following the challenge by John Heitinga and a scan revealed ligament damage.

The Tottenham manager, Harry Redknapp, has established Huddlestone as a regular in his team, starting him 30 times this season, and the injury is a huge blow in view of the midfielder's form and with Spurs already struggling with injuries.

The winger Aaron Lennon has a groin strain and must rest for at least six weeks, which also means he will be running out of time to impress Fabio Capello before the England manager picks his squad for South Africa.

Jermaine Jenas needs a groin operation, David Bentley has a tear in his groin, captain Ledley King is struggling with a thigh injury and centre-back Jonathan Woodgate is likely to miss the rest of the campaign.

As a result, Redknapp has recalled Jake Livermore from Peterborough after a nine-game spell at London Road. The 20-year-old has not played in the FA Cup this season so could be in the squad for the quarter-final against Fulham on Saturday.

But the in-form striker Roman Pavlyuchenko is putting thoughts about leaving Spurs to one side while there is plenty to fight for this season. "I try not to think about my future in the team," said the striker, who has scored six goals in his last three games. "At the moment it is senseless and unprofessional. We have clear goals: to win the FA Cup and get into the top four in the Premier League to get a ticket to the Champions League. I will start thinking about my future in June."

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