Redknapp eyes Modric return

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The Independent Football

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is hopeful of having Croatia playmaker Luka Modric back from his fractured right fibula after the international break.

Modric suffered the injury during the victory over Birmingham last month and has missed four matches - but the World Cup qualifiers in October allows the 24-year-old extra time to recover.

After missing this Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Bolton, Modric could be in contention for the clash against Portsmouth at Fratton Park on October 17.

"He's coming along okay, it's a matter of waiting for the bone to heal now," Redknapp said. "We'll see how it goes. We have a break of two weeks coming up after the Bolton game so that could be enough time to get him back playing after that international break."

Redknapp is also monitoring the progress of centre-back Jonathan Woodgate, who has not played this season due to a groin injury and is looking to avoid further surgery.

"He had the injection and feels a lot easier. We hope that does the trick rather than operating again," Redknapp said.

One player who has benefited from a spell on the sidelines is Jermain Defoe.

The England striker broke a metatarsal in January but used his three months out to bulk up in the gym - and the result has been nine goals for club and country this season.

"I look back now on my broken metatarsal and actually think it was one of the best things that could have happened," said Defoe.

"It meant I missed 11 weeks at the start of this year, and at the time it was bad news given that we were still in the middle of a relegation battle, but in the long-term that rest I had was invaluable.

"Over the years I've always been lucky with injuries, which means I've been used to playing pretty consistently throughout the season.

"Summer breaks these days are often no more than a few weeks, so I've always come straight back into the groove when the new campaign starts without ever having an extended break before pre-season.

"I did make it back towards the end of last season but it wasn't more than a month or so before the summer break came along, so then I had another long period of winding down.

"During the summer I started feeling that, for the first time since the start of my career, I was really getting back to being totally fresh and in perfect physical health - it was incredible.

"I feel that extra month or so has made all the difference and I think that's the reason I'm now producing the best form of my life."

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