January make or break time for Spurs, says Defoe


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The Independent Football

Jermain Defoe says that this month will determine whether Tottenham Hotspur are genuine Premier League title contenders. At the halfway point of the season, Harry Redknapp's third-placed side lie just six points behind Manchester rivals, City and United, but with a game in hand on both.

Tottenham, who missed the chance to close the gap even further after conceding a late goal in the 1-1 draw at Swansea on Saturday, begin a crunch period which could define their season with a home match – one of four fixtures at White Hart Lane – against West Bromwich Albion tonight.

Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic visit north London this month and there is also a potentially pivotal title showdown at Manchester City on 22 January.

When asked if this month would give an indication on how far Tottenham can go this season, the England striker Defoe said: "I think so, especially with the other teams slipping up as well. Some of the results we have just heard – it's unbelievable.

"January is a big month for us and will really determine how far we have come. We have got a lot of home games and that makes a massive difference. But it is looking good for us. It was an opportunity for us at Swansea but it's a difficult place to come. I wouldn't say it was a blip.

"You can't expect to win every game and I am sure a lot of teams will go there and think, 'Yes, we will take the point.' "They are a good side, created chances and were unlucky in the first half. But all our lads are buzzing at the minute.

"All the lads are grafting for each other, there is a good team spirit and everyone believes that we can win every game we play in, so it looks good."

Roy Hodgson's men travel to Tottenham just 48 hours after the 1-0 home defeat to Everton. Defoe thinks the gruelling schedule will take its toll on West Bromwich.

Defoe added: "The good thing is that West Brom played on Sunday so they have got only one day's recovery before playing Tuesday. We have got an extra day – I think that could play a part."

Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker is a doubt with a knee injury.