Spurs will not rush Woodgate back following groin operation

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The Independent Football

Tottenham will assess Jonathan Woodgate's recovery from groin surgery before setting a target for his return to action this season. The 29-year-old centre-back travelled to Germany for the operation and has now returned to London to start rehabilitation with the club's physios.

They have set Woodgate specific targets to achieve before moving on to his next stage of recovery, meaning there is no time frame on his return at this point. Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, is short on cover at the back because Michael Dawson is also out, with an Achilles injury. Ledley King should be able to face Liverpool on Sunday in their first Premier League of the season but is unable to play matches in quick succession. Sébastien Bassong has been signed from Newcastle to bolster the defence.

Redknapp has plenty of options in attack, however, with Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko. "I've played with Roman, Robbie and Jermain in training – and they are all fantastic players," Crouch said. "We've four strikers battling it out for two spots. That is healthy competition and has to be good for the club."