Jonathan Woodgate could complete a shock comeback from 14 months of injury hell tomorrow after Tottenham's injury crisis deepened with the news that Ledley King requires an operation on his groin injury.
King has not played since limping out of the 2-1 victory at Fulham last October.
The injury was initially only thought to be minor and Spurs boss Harry Redknapp was confident that the 30-year-old, who has been plagued by knee problems throughout his career, would not need an operation.
However, Redknapp confirmed ahead of tomorrow's game at Blackburn that the centre-back does need to go under the knife and will be out for some time, further reducing his options in defence.
Younes Kaboul (knee), Michael Dawson (suspension) are out and William Gallas is struggling with a hip problem, meaning that Woodgate could make his first appearance since picking up a serious groin injury in November 2009.
Woodgate has only played two practice matches since his return and Redknapp admits he is taking a huge risk by considering fielding the former Real Madrid man.
"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.
"I'll have a think about it today and see how he goes in training. He's not played a game of any significance yet but he is in my mind because he is 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 I should be."
Redknapp spent the majority of transfer deadline day holed up in his office at Tottenham's training ground trying to add at least one name to his squad.
In the end there were no arrivals at White Hart Lane, despite bids to sign Charlie Adam, Phil Neville, Villarreal's Giuseppe Rossi and Atletico Madrid duo Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan.
Spurs are thought to have lodged an audacious club-record £38.5million bid for Aguero, but the Argentina forward opted instead to renew his contract with the Spanish side.
Redknapp admitted that his chances of signing the 22-year-old star were very slim.
"There was never a chance of getting him really was there?" he said. "It sounded good but it wasn't going to happen."
Other big-money signings among Tottenham's rivals - namely Chelsea's double capture of Fernando Torres and David Luiz and Liverpool's of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez - have made Tottenham's push for a place in next year's Champions League much harder, according to their manager.
"The more you look at it, the more you realise just how tough it is," Redknapp said. "A month ago, people were saying that Chelsea were going to drop out of the top four and suddenly Mr Abramovich said, 'I don't think so' and went out and bought two unbelievable players.
"I could see them being very close to winning the championship. Liverpool could be pushing for top four now too. I wouldn't write them off."
Tottenham are understood to have made a £250,000 move for Everton captain Neville before upping their bid to £1.5million yesterday.
Everton boss David Moyes described Tottenham's initial bid for his captain as "insulting and disrespectful" and Redknapp regrets not making an approach for the defender earlier in the window.
Redknapp said: "We could have tried earlier and for David to sell him on the last day was difficult for him. He was quite right not to sell him."
Tottenham also made a last-ditch attempt to sign Blackpool's Adam, but the move fell through because two of the club's main shareholders did not sign the necessary paperwork to sanction the £7million deal.
Redknapp did not rule out making another bid for the midfielder this summer.
"You never know. We'll see how we go and what the rest of the season brings," he added.Reuse content