Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas not afraid to use Gareth Bale against Manchester City

The forward is returning from injury

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas insists he has no qualms about throwing Gareth Bale in to his team for Sunday's huge clash with Manchester City.

Bale has been out of action since Basle's David Degen stood on his right ankle 15 days ago, causing ligament damage.

The fact that his ankle was bent almost at a right angle to his leg raised fears that the 23-year-old star would not play again this season.

An initial diagnosis of three weeks on the sidelines seemed optimistic at the time, but Bale has been training with the Spurs squad for the last two days and the in-form forward now looks set to be fit for this weekend's game at White Hart Lane.

"I am pretty confident (Bale will be fit)," the Spurs boss said.

"He's made good progress from the beginning of the week to be training with the team so I think he will definitely up for selection."

Bale has scored 27 goals for club and country this term, earning him a place on the PFA Player of the Year shortlist, which was announced today.

The Welshman was hindered by injury for part of last season, and also missed part of this campaign with a hamstring complaint, but the Portuguese denied recalling the player so soon would cause more damage to Bale's ankle.

"No I don't think so," the 35-year-old said.

Villas-Boas reported further good news from the treatment room regarding Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe.

Lennon also limped out of the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final defeat to Basle with a knee injury and Defoe has missed the last two games with a pelvis complaint.

But Villas-Boas was optimistic about their chances of playing on Sunday against the reigning Premier League champions.

"There has been a good recovery from Defoe so he's trained with the team all week," said Villas-Boas, who is without Sandro, Younes Kaboul and William Gallas for Sunday's game.

"Lennon has been recovering progressively.

"He hasn't trained with the team yet so there is one more training session to go. All of them are in with a chance of making the selection."

The return of Tottenham's three most lethal players after a 10-day break for the squad could not have come at a better time for Villas-Boas, whose team dropped out of the top four last weekend after Arsenal's win over Norwich.

Spurs, who also have to face Chelsea before the end of the season, could find themselves five points behind their north London rivals if they lose against City and the Gunners beat Fulham tomorrow.

Spurs led Arsenal by seven points in March, but after a recent run of one win in four league games, Villas-Boas concedes his team have lost the advantage in the race for Champions League qualification, even though they do have the bonus of a match in hand over their rivals.

When asked whether Arsenal were now the favourites to clinch Champions League football, Villas-Boas replied: "Yes, but we also have everything in our hands with this game in favour.

"We have had one game more during the last two or three months. Now it is up to us to do our job with the game in hand we have against Chelsea.

"Arsenal have probably the easiest run-in, although they play Manchester United at home.

"We lost some points recently which have put us back into a position we were in before but still everything depends on us because of this game in hand we have against Chelsea.

"But I think it is a great, great spectacle for the Premier League and hopefully we can be there in the fight."

Spurs crumbled to a 5-1 defeat in the corresponding fixture last year, but Villas-Boas has managed to spur his team on to good performances against the big teams this year, and he thinks that could work to his advantage this weekend.

"Sometimes in football you need these moments of pressure and tension to excel and maybe that can be a decisive factor for us," Villas-Boas said.

PA

Suggested Topics
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Proust as Captain Laure Berthaud in 'Spiral'
tvReview: Gritty, engaging and well-acted - it’s a wonder France’s biggest TV export isn’t broadcast on a more mainstream channel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Carmichael in still from Madam Bovary trailer
film
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links