MF’s Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs Fulham (FA Cup Replay)

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FA Cup fever returns to White Hart Lane on Wednesday night as Spurs take on Fulham in a 6th round replay. It seems a long time since the first game and that’s because it is. Fulham have played four times in the intervening 18 days losing three times and winning once. We’ve played twice and won both, so on paper we’re the form team, however we’ve also managed to lose both our main strikers to hamstring strains whilst getting no-one sent back from the first aid tent to boost the squad (though the official website is bullish about Bentley and Huddlestone). In contrast Fulham have welcomed back Murphy, Dempsey and Konchesky. They’ve a doubt over Hangeland but not one big enough to prevent Woy from starting him I suspect.

Livermore, Townsend, Parrett & Dervite made the subs bench look decidedly baby-faced at Stoke and when Palacios leaves it to join his mates in the middle Younes Kaboul won’t be able to add any grey haired gravitas as he’s cup-tied. So we’ll have Gudjohnsen and Crouch up front but what the plan B will be if something happens to one of those two I’m not sure. Jon Obika is part of Millwall’s promotion push (and cup-tied anyway) so I’m guessing Harry Kane is the next option. Redknapp appeared to be moaning at the weekend about the number of players we had out on loan, but whose fault is that?

Fulham were everyone’s favourite second team last Friday morning after their terrific efforts against Juventus, but that still probably won’t encourage their own fans to turn up in north London in great numbers (despite them laying on coaches. A coach from Fulham for God’s sake!). Tickets for the away end were still on sale on Tuesday evening – “this is not a game to be missed” – and given their recent second leg performances in Europe, it’s amazing those who were there at the first game can’t be bothered.

Martin Atkinson’s the referee, we’ve only had him once before this season, he was for the goalless draw against Hull, the day Boaz Myhill played out of his skin (as opposed to the game against the Gooners two weekends ago when he was more Paris Hilton than Peter Shilton).

It’s going to be a tough game and the first goal will all-important. Clichés both but still true. They’ve not scored against us in any of our three encounters so far this season but in Dempsey, Duff and Zamora they have the ability to do so. We need to try and get into Zamora earlier, in the first game he was often allowed too much time to hold the ball up. Without Lennon and Defoe we’re reliant on Bale for pace but with the marauding Welshman in top form and Modric, Kranjcar and Gudjohnsen also playing well in front of a full house we’ve got to be confident. Wembley is only ninety minutes away.

By MF

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