Tottenham face injury crisis ahead of Fulham tie

Mike McGrath,Pa
Friday 05 March 2010 15:09
Defoe is rated 50-50 for the tie
Defoe is rated 50-50 for the tie

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp admits he cannot fill his bench with senior players for the FA Cup quarter-final against Fulham after Jermain Defoe returned from England duty with a hamstring complaint.

Defoe is rated as 50-50 for the clash at Craven Cottage, with Ledley King already ruled out with a thigh injury and groin problems accounting for Aaron Lennon, David Bentley and Jermaine Jenas, while Tom Huddlestone has damaged ankle ligaments.

"Jermain has had tight hamstrings, run down his legs like sciatica-type pain," Redknapp said. "He felt it after the game at Wembley, he didn't feel very good with it at all.

"He felt his back was tight before the game and he'd been having treatment on the back of his hamstrings here, but they all seem to roll into one. The physios will see if they can work their magic on him."

Redknapp upset the odds against Manchester United in the last eight of the competition two seasons ago and accepts it will require another backs-to-the-wall display to get past Roy Hodgson's men, given his selection problems.

Younes Kaboul and Kyle Walker are cup-tied, so Andros Townsend and Jake Livermore have been recalled from loans to help with numbers.

"It's quite easy to pick the team at the moment because I think we've got about 12 fit players," Redknapp said. "We'll have to play people out of position but we've still got 11 very good players."

Jenas underwent an operation in Germany this week, while Huddlestone's foot is in a protective boot and he needs another scan before it is known how long he will be out.

Lennon's injury is also worrying as he has not played since December and a comeback date has not been set, with the winger given the instructions to rest for six weeks.

"It'll take a bit of time," said Redknapp, assessing Lennon's recovery.

Redknapp at least has his available strikers in top form. Roman Pavlyuchenko has scored six in his last four appearances, while Peter Crouch came off the bench for England and scored twice against Egypt on Wednesday.

"When we took him to Portsmouth from QPR, if you'd have said he would play for England people probably would've laughed at you," Redknapp said. "But he's done fantastic. His goal record with England is superb - he's a must now to go to the World Cup and he's bang in the driving seat to have a chance to start.

"He brings something very different and, when he plays, the results have been excellent.

"He could be England's super-sub or super-starter - I think he's capable of both. He'll never let you down and always do the job."

Crouch considers his 2006 FA Cup win with Liverpool as the high point of his club career - and he is desperate for success with Spurs.

He told Sky Sports News: "This club deserves to get to a final. I've been lucky enough to win it, it's a fantastic feeling and hopefully I can do it again with Tottenham.

"We are in the fight for fourth place and that will go to the wire, but we're in the cup as well so it's exciting times."

Redknapp is expecting a tough test against Fulham, adding: "To beat Shakhtar Donetsk over two legs was one of the great performances because they're UEFA Cup holders.

"Fulham are a well-drilled, organised team. Roy gets everything out of them. People like Danny Murphy, Roy's resurrected their careers almost. It'll be a very difficult game."

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