Jermain Defoe is still some way off making a return for Tottenham, despite Andre Villas-Boas' claims to the contrary.
The England striker has been out since suffering ankle ligament damage in the 1-0 win at West Brom on February 3 and prior to the first leg of his team’s Europa League tie against Lyon, Villas-Boas said that Defoe could be back inside a week.
However, the 30-year-old is yet to resume full training with his Tottenham team-mates.
With Spurs due to travel to France today to defend their 2-1 advantage from the first leg, Defoe was not expected to be with them. The 30-year-old still hopes to be in contention for the north London derby at White Hart Lane in 11 days’ time but he had also earmarked Monday’s match at West Ham for a possible return. Unless Defoe makes a speedy recovery, the Upton Park fixture would appear to be beyond him.
Defoe’s return cannot come quickly enough for Villas-Boas. Even though he had been subdued before the injury, his absence means Emmanuel Adebayor is the club’s only fit senior striker, and the former Arsenal player has yet to recapture the fine form he showed during last season’s loan spell from Manchester City.
Villas-Boas must also decide whether to play goalkeeper Hugo Lloris at Stade Gerland tomorrow. Lloris joined Spurs from Lyon for £12million last summer but was rested for the first leg, with Brad Friedel taking his place.
Where possible, Villas-Boas usually likes to have players taking on their former clubs as he believes it gives them extra motivation and benefits the team as a result.
Meanwhile, UEFA have still to decide a date to hear Tottenham’s appeal against the £8,600 fine they were handed for their supporters’ behaviour in the 0-0 draw against Lazio in Rome in November.