‘Arry might already have the world’s largest backroom staff, but at the moment the most useful person to have snuggled up between Joe Jordan Kevin Bond might be Florence Nightingale. Instead, we appear to have hired Darren Anderton’s personal physician. Lennon, Bentley, Hudd and even the Lord of all things Sideways and Backwards are each out injured, meaning it will be the bare bones in lilywhite across the midfield today.
Our Makeshift Midfield – Actually Quite Tasty
However, as bare bones go, a midfield of Bale-Palacios-Modric-Kranjcar is still pretty blinking impressive. BAE should move seamlessly back into the team at left-back, meaning Gareth Bale will be shunted forward to left midfield. The handsome young Welshman is certainly capable of playing the more attacking role, but part of the reason for his success as attacking full-back has been that the midfielder ahead of him has cut inside giving him a passage down which to overlap from deep. It will be a slightly different role today, but he still seems a good bet to cause mischief.
Modders will therefore presumably take the central midfield berth, with Sergeant Wilson playing the role of his big burly minder, which would leave Kranjcar, fresh from wonder-goal exploits with Croatia, as right winger. It all sounds quite marvellous actually – pace, trickery and silky-smooth passing all served up on a bed of Honduran snarl – but the crucially sobering proviso is that one more injury and we’re quite possibly doomed.
Not just tomorrow either – the return dates for Messrs Hudd, Bentley, Lennon et al are several weeks off, so if our top-four Premiership push is not also to be derailed the four who start across the midfield today will need to be carefully encased in cotton wool and that bubble-wrap stuff the minute the final whistle sounds. And if that sounds dramatic have a perusal of our subs’ bench this afternoon, likely to feature the likes of Dervite, Rose, Livermore and Townsend. All enthusiastic young bucks I’m sure, but probably not the chaps upon whom we want to pin our top-four hopes.
Peter Crouch, International Superstar
In typically restrained fashion various tabloids have been heralding Crouch as the saviour of England’s World Cup campaign. All well and good but his niche at the Lane is as Plan B. Natterings in certain quarters yesterday suggested that Defoe might have tweaked something in the line of international duty, but only such an injury ought to split up the Defoe-Pav partnership. Much more of the Russian’s net-bulging antics and plans might have to be made to iron his 12 letters across the back of next season’s lilywhite shirt. For the time-being however he is one of the in-form strikers in the country, and a good bet for a goal at some point today. It might not be the world’s most complete striking partnership, but Defoe and Pav are two of the best goalscorers around at the moment.
Fulham, particularly on their own patch, are a tough bunch of nuts to crack, but even with injuries we ought to be able to grab at least a draw from this (and I certainly fancy our chances in a replay against this lot at the Lane).
AANP’s first book, Spurs’ Cult Heroes, is now in shops – and Gary Mabbutt, the last man to lift the FA Cup for Spurs, will be signing copies of the book at Waterstones in Enfield, today, from 12 – 2pm. If you prefer the comfort of your computer-box, the humble tome can also be purchased at Tottenhamhotspur.com, as well as WHSmith, Amazon , Tesco, Waterstones and Play
All are most welcome to leave memories – and browse those of others – regarding the players featured in Spurs’ Cult Heroes: Danny Blanchflower here, Dave Mackay here, Cliff Jones here, Martin Chivers here, Alan Gilzean here, Pat Jennings here, Cyril Knowles here, Steve Perryman here, Glenn Hoddle here, Chris Waddle here, Ossie and Ricky here, Gary Mabbutt here, Graham Roberts here, Jimmy Greaves here, Clive Allen here, Jürgen Klinsmann here, David Ginola here, Paul Gascoigne here. Also featured in the book are Sandy Brown and the late, great Bill Nicholson.