The antipathy some Tottenham fans hold towards Emmanuel Adebayor shows no signs of abating, but Andros Townsend has backed the divisive frontman to prove his worth.
The 30-year-old has not been universally welcomed upon his return from a turbulent nine weeks out of action through injury, illness and family issues.
Adebayor was booed by a number of home fans when he came on during Saturday’s win against Sunderland for his first appearance since November 9 – a mixed reaction repeated when he came off in Wednesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final.
The Togolese striker, given the captain’s armband for the match, was again jeered by sections of the Spurs support when he was replaced 65 minutes into the 1-0 first leg win against Sheffield United.
A return to the form shown in the second half of last season would certainly help quell the booing, and match-winner Townsend has backed Adebayor to soon start finding the net once more.
“Everyone knows what Manny can offer,” the England international said.
“He scored loads of goals last season. He has had a few off-the-field problems this season, but he has got his head right and he has got himself fit.
“He has had a few niggles but he is now 100 per cent fit, so hopefully we will see the Emmanuel Adebayor of last season and he can start scoring goals for us.
“In his first game back on Saturday, he was fantastic and worked really hard for the cause. It was the same against Sheffield United.
“He worked hard, he had some nice touches and, even though there wasn’t much space for the forwards, he did well.
“Hopefully he’ll get another game on Saturday against Leicester in the FA Cup and he can get a goal. He is a fantastic player. He worked hard and hopefully the fans can see that.”
The substitution of Adebayor 25 minutes from time proved a shrewd move given the quick impact replacement Roberto Soldado made.
The Spaniard’s presence caused Blades defender Jay McEveley to flap an arm at the ball and referee Neil Swarbrick pointed for a spot-kick.
Townsend duly swept home the resulting penalty, despite almost being undone by United goalkeeper Mark Howard receiving tips from the touchline.
“I saw the goalkeeper looking at the bench, so I turned around and saw one of their coaches telling him which way to dive,” Townsend said.
“But I still believed that if I hit it with enough power, their keeper wouldn’t get it. It turned out that way and set us on the way to a good win.”
Those watching the White Hart Lane encounter, however, will attest to the fact that victory was far from straightforward.
Once again the Blades’ performance in the cup belied their League One status as they threatened to make the north Londoners their sixth top-flight scalp since the start of 2014.
That is a feat they will need to achieve at Bramall Lane next week and one midfielder Stefan Scougall is confident of achieving.
“We lost on the night to a penalty, which was the only thing which was going to separate the teams judging by the way we played,” he told Press Association Sport.
“We are more than happy with the way we played but we’re obviously disappointed to lose. The tie is definitely still on.”
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