Spurs' relief over Huddlestone

Scan reveals midfielder's ankle injury is not as serious as had been feared
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The Independent Football

The Tottenham manager, Harry Redknapp, has received positive news over Tom Huddlestone's ankle injury following a second scan on the midfielder's damaged ligaments.

Huddlestone, who was hurt in a challenge by Everton's John Heitinga during Spurs' victory at White Hart Lane last month, is understood to be progressing well in recovery and is not considered a long-term absentee, although no date has been set for his comeback.

Redknapp needs Huddlestone back as Wilson Palacios is his only fit out-and-out central midfielder, with Jermaine Jenas back training with the first team following groin surgery but not ready to return for the weekend trip to Stoke.

Redknapp has been impressed with Palacios' discipline while on nine bookings for the season, knowing that another yellow card would leave the side without a central midfielder.

There are no such selection problems in attack, with Jermain Defoe, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Peter Crouch and Eidur Gudjohnsen competing for a place in Redknapp's starting XI.

Pavlyuchenko is the in-form striker with eight goals in six games as Spurs look to maintain their place in the Premier League's top four. "He could be the key," said centre-back Sébastien Bassong. "Why not? We have a very good squad, and this can help us go even further in the Premier League. We can reach the Champions League. It will be good for us if we manage it, because I think we deserve to be in it.

"We have been doing well since the start of the season, and if we continue to play that way, we can achieve what we want."

Meanwhile, the Internazionale president, Vittorio Piffero, claims Tottenham's deal for the Brazilian youngster Sandro is imminent. Redknapp has previously revealed his interest in the 21-year-old Sandro, with the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, negotiating with Inter since before the last transfer window. Piffero said: "The negotiations with Tottenham have been going on since last summer, but now we are in the key moment. The deal is agreed and we will sign this week. I don't expect that to change because the agreement has been made between all parties."

Tottenham's north London rivals Arsenal are relieved that their striker Andrei Arshavin was unhurt after being involved in a traffic accident on Monday.

His team-mate Nicklas Bendtner had what an ambulance spokesman called a "very lucky escape" earlier in the season when he crashed his Aston Martin into a tree, but Arshavin's collision was minor in comparison and led only to a damaged bumper. Arshavin, who was with his wife Julia, revealed the accident on his official website.

The incident came two days after the 28-year-old Russia international scored the opening goal in the win over Hull which maintained Arsenal's hopes of winning the Premier League. It still needed a last-gasp winner from Bendtner to earn maximum points.

Winger Theo Walcott was encouraged by the result at Hull. "That is the sign of champions, to go to the final minute," Walcott said. "We're showing great character."

On a personal level, Walcott is desperate to get a regular place in Arsène Wenger's starting line-up after coming off the bench against Porto and Hull last week.

"It's been very frustrating, with injury after injury this season," Walcott said on Arsenal TV Online. "To start that game [against Burnley] and play very well then not to play Porto was disappointing because I just want to play. I feel as fit as ever."