Redknapp plans to gamble on Woodgate recall

Jonathan Woodgate could make his return from injury tonight in a move Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has described as a "massive gamble". The centre-half has not played since November 2009 but the unavailability of other centre-backs for Spurs' game at Blackburn Rovers may force Redknapp to select him.

The 31-year-old has played for the reserves but Redknapp recognised that a first-team return would be a risk given the length of his absence. "Woodgate is back in my squad which is a massive gamble for me, the club and for him," Redknapp said. "He could start. I have got him in my mind to throw him in at the deep end. He's not played a game of any note but he's in my mind because he's such a fantastic player. I'm dreaming that he can come in and be somewhere near what he was straight away, which is not easy. We have some key, very important, players missing so we have been pushed into pushing Woodgate in way in advance of what we should be."

Such a return to action would owe as much to Woodgate's fitness as to the absence of colleagues. Ledley King and Younes Kaboul require groin and knee surgery respectively; Redknapp said that club captain King was "nowhere near being able to play", having not featured since October. Michael Dawson is suspended having been sent off in Sunday's defeat at Fulham, while William Gallas is a doubt. Spurs will also be without Gareth Bale and Tom Huddlestone as they seek to return to the top four.

Blackburn will be without Roque Santa Cruz, who has a groin strain. The striker returned to Ewood Park recently after one and a half seasons at Manchester City but was substituted 10 minutes into his third game back. Neither of Rovers' deadline-day signings, Mauro Formica and Ruben Rochina, will be risked. Ryan Nelsen and Gaël Givet will have late fitness tests.

Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish will make a decision today on whether new signing Obafemi Martins is sufficiently fit to face Manchester City tonight. Martins, who signed on loan from Rubin Kazan on Monday, will undergo a fitness test before McLeish chooses whether to play him. Another recent recruit, centre-back Curtis Davies, will not start yet. "Curtis can't get into the team until somebody is injured or somebody is maybe off form," explained McLeish. For Manchester City, Micah Richards and Adam Johnson are out having sustained injuries last week.

Bolton Wanderers welcome Lee Chung-yong back from the Asian Cup against Wolverhampton Wanderers tonight. Lee has not played for Bolton since Boxing Day, and Owen Coyle described his return as a "terrific boost". Jamie O'Hara, on loan at Wolves from Tottenham, is available and believes his new team should be able to avoid relegation. "I believe there is the quality in this squad to stay up", he said before confirming there was an option for him to move permanently to Molineux in the summer.

Fulham could give debuts to two new loan signings tonight against Newcastle United. Gaël Kakuta and Eidur Gudjohnsen have joined from Chelsea and Stoke City respectively and both are available for selection. Mark Schwarzer is not yet ready despite returning from Asian Cup duty with Australia. Newcastle will not have their January loan signing available, as Stephen Ireland has a hamstring injury that will rule him out for another two weeks.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty

Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Designer Oscar de la Renta takes a bow after showing his Spring 2015 collection in September, his last show before his death
fashionThe passing of the legendary designer has left a vacancy: couturier to America’s royalty, says fashion editor Alexander Fury
Life and Style

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album