If thereâ€™s a feeling of dÃ©jÃ vu about the Spurs fixture this weekend then itâ€™s justified as for the third time in five seasons we face Fulham at Craven Cottage in the FA Cup. A fine 4-0 win in the fifth round in 2007 was followed up with another victory, after a replay, in last seasonâ€™s quarter final.
In a period where the search for a new ground is forcing the club into a struggle with its own identity, the Cup should be a place where we feel on firmer ground, it certainly used to be anyway. As the league slipped by season after season when I was growing up, solace and glory were often provided by a Wembley win. This year though sees the twentieth anniversary of our last appearance in an FA Cup final, not a stat to be proud of.
Last seasonâ€™s semi with Portsmouth was a great opportunity of course to put an end to that run but, in a precursor of many of this seasonâ€™s games, we showed an inability to score despite copious possession and half-chances. Personally I blame Wiley for disallowing Crouchâ€™s perfectly good equaliser but then Iâ€™m bitter like that.
Even though weâ€™ve already beaten Fulham twice this season this wonâ€™t be an easy game. Theyâ€™ve hit a run of form and confidence since our 1-0 win on New Yearâ€™s Day and have more players available with Andy Johnson back to full fitness and Dembele not far behind. Wins over West Brom and Stoke sandwiched a draw at Wigan and a 6-2 thumping of Peterborough.
Weâ€™ll be without Bale for a couple of weeks at least. Steven Pienaar isnâ€™t cup tied so will take his place on the left. Whether Assou-Ekotto & Gomes have recovered from their knocks I donâ€™t know. Both were missed last week at Newcastle and will be again if they donâ€™t make it. Itâ€™s anyoneâ€™s guess who weâ€™ll play up front. Itâ€™ll be Van der Vaart and A.N.Other. How about Harry Kane?
A match between two goal shy teams with strong midfields points to a tight encounter, as does the recent history of games between Fulham and us. Iâ€™d be feeling a lot more confident if we were at home. Nobody wants a replay but if we earn one, I think we can be pleased with ourselves.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AHEAD OF THE GAME? HAVE YOUR SAY BELOW
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