Tottenham's hopes of hanging on to fourth place in the Premier league and the accompanying qualification for the Champions League suffered a blow yesterday as Aaron Lennon's return to fitness was checked by another possible injury.
The winger will discover the extent of the damage after a scan today. Lennon, who has been a key player this season, felt discomfort in his injured groin while training at the weekend.
There are some suggestions that the 22-year-old's groin could be so badly damaged he may need as much as two months' treatment and rehabilitation, but even a minor setback could still keep the flyer out for as long as three weeks. Lennon had been recovering well from the problem he picked up in December but this setback could leave him on the sidelines again. It could also rule him out of England's friendly against Egypt on Wednesday week, the last chance he has to impress the England manager, Fabio Capello, before the domestic season finishes and the focus switches to the World Cup.
Lennon appeared to be leading the race to be Capello's first-choice right winger when he started the final three qualifiers, with Theo Walcott, David Beckham and Shaun Wright-Phillips also looking to board the plane to South Africa.
Since featuring in the win over Belarus, Lennon suffered an ankle problem against Stoke – when he took himself off despite manager Harry Redknapp wanting him to continue – then injured his groin two months ago against West Ham.
Spurs have been inconsistent in his absence but are up to fourth after their win over Wigan on Sunday. "It will go down to the last day," said centre-back Michael Dawson. "There is one point separating four teams, so we are all in with a shout and, hopefully, we will finish there at the end of the season. We'll just keep going about our job as we know we can, and as we did at Wigan. Reaching the Champions League would be fantastic."