Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is facing up to the prospect of taking on one of the most feared attacks in world football with just two fit central defenders.
Just five days ahead of the club's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Real Madrid, Spurs have been plunged into an injury crisis in defence.
Redknapp revealed today that club captain Ledley King requires a second operation on the groin problem that has kept him out of action since October, while William Gallas suffered a knee injury that could rule him out of Tuesday's game at the Bernabeu.
With Younes Kaboul out with a thigh strain and Jonathan Woodgate sidelined by a calf injury, Redknapp only has Michael Dawson and Sebastien Bassong fit to play at Wigan this weekend.
With the biggest match in the club's history against a Real Madrid team consisting of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema just around the corner, Redknapp admits his defensive troubles are a big concern to him.
"We started the year with six central defenders here. Now we have two," Redknapp told Sky Sports News.
"We have lost Ledley King, it looks like he will have to have an operation that will finish his season.
"Jonathan Woodgate was making good progress but got a calf injury in a friendly against Barnet and Younes Kaboul is still out with a thigh strain.
"William Gallas has been for a scan on his knee today. He struggled at the weekend and we are now down to having just Michael Dawson and Sebastien Bassong."
Redknapp is also desperately waiting to hear whether Gareth Bale will be fit for Tuesday's match in the Spanish capital.
The 21-year-old withdrew from Wales' squad to face England with a hamstring strain and is now a major doubt for the club's next two matches.
The Welshman, who has played a big part in getting Tottenham to the quarter-finals, had only just recovered from a back injury before picking up his latest knock.
Redknapp plans to leave a decision on whether the star winger will play until the last minute.
"Gareth worked with the fitness coaches and he looked OK this morning," Redknapp added.
"Whether he is OK to play two games this weekend is doubtful.
"We will have a look at that tomorrow and decide which way to go with it.
"We are going to leave it late. We'd love to have him fit but if he isn't fit then we can't play him."
The Spurs boss is confident that his side will be able to give Real a good match in Spain even if Bale does not play next week.
"We have other good players here who can play on the left," Redknapp said.
"Niko Kranjcar has just gone off and had a couple of games for Croatia. Steven Pienaar is fit now too."
There was better news for the club with regard to Aaron Lennon's fitness.
The winger pulled out of England's game against Ghana with a hamstring injury but Tottenham are confident that he will be fit for Saturday's game at the DW Stadium.
"Aaron is OK. He trained this morning. There isn't any problem with him," Redknapp said.
"He met up with England and stayed with them for 10 days, felt his hamstring was tight and we didn't want to risk him going so he pulled out of the squad."
Redknapp believes that the international break and the way that the fixtures have been set up for his side this weekend have left the club struggling to prepare for Tuesday's showdown with the nine-time European champions.
"We only had two senior players training last week. All the others came back this morning," Redknapp added.
"Five of them played 90 minutes on Tuesday night, Gallas went for a scan this morning. One or two of them have little niggles.
"It's a nightmare. You can't come out here this morning and start thinking about how we are going to beat Real Madrid because we have to play Wigan on Saturday.
"It's farcical. You play Saturday, you recover on Sunday. You're not going to have your XI ready on Sunday because you are going to have aches and pains and knocks.
"Then you travel to Madrid early Monday morning and you are not going to want to walk on to the pitch at the Bernabeu and start working on corners and set plays and shape because everyone will be looking at you.
"It's going to be very difficult to prepare for Real Madrid because Wigan are in the way."Reuse content