Joe Cole fears Jermain Defoe will be back to haunt him

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The Independent Football

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe is hoping for a first-team call-up for today's game against West Ham – but his old team-mate Joe Cole is not.

Defoe took his season's tally to seven goals on Thursday when he scored the opening goal in Tottenham's 2-0 win over Anzhi Makhachkala, but the striker has played just 50 minutes of Premier League football this season, with £26m signing Roberto Soldado Andre Villas-Boas's first choice

However, the Spurs manager thinks pitting players against their old clubs brings out the best in them, so Defoe could be given his first League start of the season today at White Hart Lane.

However Cole, who spent four years at Upton Park with Defoe, where the striker scored 41 goals in five years, is afraid his former team-mate will come back to haunt his old team.

"Tottenham have brought in some good players but, personally, I'll be glad if Jermain Defoe's name is not on their team sheet," said the fit-again 31-year-old midfielder.

"He seems to have scored every time he has played this season and we all know what he can do. If you give him a chance he can hurt you, so I think he's probably impressed me the most of Tottenham's players. He wants to get back into the England team and he'll be right up for it against his old club."

Spurs have won four of their opening six League games to mount another top-four challenge under Villas-Boas, another man Cole knows as they were together at Chelsea.

"Andre Villas-Boas is a really nice guy, a top manager and I think he can go on and do amazing things in his career," he says. "[Today] is going to be tough" – especially as West Ham have won just one League game so far.

Tottenham v West Ham is today, kick-off 4pm