Weâ€™re not in the best of shapes for our fourth round FA Cup replay at Leeds on Wednesday night. None of the new signings can play as they werenâ€™t with us for the first game (Kaboul and Walker are cup-tied anyway), and of the familiar crew, Assou-Ekotto, Woodgate, King, Pavlyuchenko and Lennon are all injured and Hutton, Keane and Naughton have all been told to go and play nicely elsewhere for a while. As a result there should be some kids on the bench, weâ€™ve got no third first team striker available for a start. The match is a sell out in all the home sections but the police insistence that tickets for the away end can only be sold to season ticket holders and existing members has made it difficult for Spurs to get rid of all theirs. So half a team out and potentially much reduced support. Weâ€™ve not made it easy for ourselves but we just have to get on with it.
Itâ€™ll be a surprise if we start with a purposely weakened team as we did in the first game. We canâ€™t afford to let them overrun us in midfield again so Palacios should start this time. Who plays alongside him is a bit of a guess with Huddlestone and Jenas off their game but Modric has combined so well with Bale that Harry will be loathe to break up their blossoming partnership and play the Croatian inside. Bentleyâ€™s done well enough to be given another chance on the right.
Leeds won on Saturday, their first win since the victory at Old Trafford in January, andÂ inevitably it was that man Beckford who got their goals. They have injury doubts over Kisnorbo and Kilkenny but whoever plays they will no doubt be tigerish in the tackle as the players enjoy their chance to take another big scalp live on the telly. Weâ€™ll have to hope that Andre Marriner is quick to stamp out any excesses early on.
Ideally weâ€™ll start at a good tempo, nick a couple of early goals and then spend the rest of the game hitting them on the break. This is Spurs though so in fact expect an open end to end game with the name of the visitors to Bolton on Valentineâ€™s Day uncertain until the final whistle.
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