Spurs face a defensive crisis as problems grow

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The Independent Football

Without A Premier League win this season and four points adrift at the bottom of the table, Tottenham face a defensive crisis going into tomorrow's vital home game against fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers.

The captain Ledley King played in Thursday's 2-0 defeat at Udinese in the Uefa Cup and, given the state of his knee, is unlikely to line up against Bolton three days later. To add to under-pressure manager Juande Ramos, King's central defensive partner Jonathan Woodgate, who later said the struggling side was "rudderless" was substituted at the Stadio Friuli with an apparent groin problem and is rated doubtful.

However, following their disastrous 2-1 defeat to Stoke in their last league outing six days ago, Michael Dawson, who would be expected to come in as cover, is suspended after he was sent off in injury time for a high tackle on Mamady Sidibe at the Britannia Stadium. Gareth Bale was also given a red card at Stoke and is banned, while fellow full-back Vedran Corluka was carried off with a head injury and is expected to be unavailable.

"Bolton is a game with big tension on the pitch because we need to win," Ramos admitted. "We need to try to win and I need to change things to find the solution.

"It is a very important game for us now," he added. "If we can get the three points, then we will reduce the distance between the teams."