Spurs hope Kane fit for West Ham derby date

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LONDON: Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino is cross­ing his fin­gers Harry Kane will be fit enough to fea­ture in all three of his side’s high-pro­file fix­tures over the next week.

The Premier League’s only re­main­ing un­beaten team host West Ham United in to­day’s evening fix­ture and go into bat­tle in another London derby at Chelsea a week later.

In be­tween is a Cham­pi­ons League trip to Monaco, which will also present a thor­ough test of Spurs’ cre­den­tials at a time when a num­ber of key men are ab­sent through in­jury.

Kane has played just one match since be­ing side­lined by an an­kle in­jury in Septem­ber, the 1-1 draw at Arse­nal im­me­di­ately prior to the in­ter­na­tional break. He did not fea­ture in Eng­land’s 30 win over Scot­land in World Cup qual­i­fy­ing last Fri­day and was sent back to Spurs to con­tinue his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion prior to Tues­day’s 2-2 friendly draw with Spain. “The train­ing dur­ing the week was good af­ter he came back from the na­tional team,” Po­chet­tino said. “He felt a bit tired be­cause train­ing has been hard from Mon­day un­til to­day (Thurs­day).

“To play 90 min­utes? We don’t know be­cause we need to man­age the next few games. We have Monaco and then Chelsea and we will see what hap­pens dur­ing the game.

“But it’s true he’s in a good con­di­tion like he was against Arse­nal when we de­cided he could play.” Po­chet­tino faces a sim­i­lar dilemma with mid­fielder Dele Alli, who is close to re­cov­er­ing from a knee prob­lem. “We need to as­sess him,” said the Argentine. “He showed he is in very good con­di­tion. We need to an­a­lyse if we take a risk or not, or if he is on the bench and we pro­tect him for Tues­day or next week. “It was not a big is­sue. If not for Sat­ur­day, he will be avail­able in the squad for Tues­day (against Monaco).”

BILIC FRONTS UP

De­fend­ers Toby Alder­weireld and Ben Davies plus winger Erik Lamela have al­ready been ruled out of the West Ham game on fit­ness grounds.

West Ham will ar­rive at White Hart Lane still strug­gling at the wrong end of the ta­ble de­spite suf­fer­ing only one loss in their last six games.

Man­ager Slaven Bilic ad­mits a side that qual­i­fied for the Europa League last sea­son are still stuck in a rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle. “We are 17th, and if you are 17th you are very close to rel­e­ga­tion and we have to im­prove even more,” he said.

“On one hand, the worst thing to do is lose con­fi­dence and doubt your­selves in­di­vid­u­ally and as a group.

“On the other hand, you can’t keep talk­ing and say­ing, ‘The ta­ble doesn’t mat­ter, we are a good team and we will click.’ “We need to win games be­cause the other teams are also get­ting un­ex­pected re­sults, which are get­ting them points. We have im­proved a lot since the last in­ter­na­tional break.

“We took seven points from four games and beat Chelsea in the (League) Cup, were much bet­ter in ev­ery as­pect of the game, clean sheets and a few good per­for­mances.

“But if we look at the ta­ble, we are still in a po­si­tion we don’t want to be.”

Cap­tain Mark Noble is sus­pended and a num­ber of ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paign­ers still in­jured, but de­fender Win­ston Reid has been passed fit. Striker Di­afra Sakho, miss­ing since the end of last sea­son with a back prob­lem, could be on the bench.

—AP

SANT JOAN DESPI: FC Barcelona’s Arda Tu­ran, cen­ter, con­trols the ball dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion at the Sports Cen­ter FC Barcelona Joan Gam­per in Sant Joan Despi, Spain, yes­ter­day.

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