Harry Redknapp admits Tottenham's plans for next week's Champions League quarter-final with Real Madrid have been thrown into chaos by an injury crisis and the "farcical" fixture arrangements ahead of Tuesday's showdown at the Bernabeu.
Redknapp has only two fit centre-halves available for next week's first leg after he revealed some crushing injury news today. William Gallas is a major doubt for the clash after breaking down with a knee problem while club captain Ledley King requires a second operation on a groin injury that has ended his season after just seven appearances - the last of which was in October.
With injured duo Jonathan Woodgate and Younes Kaboul both out of the reckoning, Redknapp will be hoping that Michael Dawson and Sebastien Bassong both come through Saturday's match at Wigan unscathed so they are fit to face Jose Mourinho's fearsome attack on Tuesday. "We started the year with six central defenders and now we have two," Redknapp told Sky Sports News. "We just have Michael Dawson and Sebastien Bassong. It's a nightmare."
Redknapp takes his threadbare squad to the DW Stadium on Saturday looking to kickstart Tottenham's faltering UEFA Champions League qualification campaign after the international break. Spurs face Roberto Martinez's side just 72 hours before arguably the biggest game in their history and Redknapp is not happy with the way the club's fixtures have been organised.
"We only had two senior players training last week. All the others came back this morning," Redknapp added. "Five of them played 90 minutes on Tuesday night, Gallas went for a scan this morning and one or two of them have little niggles. You can't come out here this morning and start thinking about how we are going to beat Real Madrid because we have to play Wigan on Saturday.
"It's farcical. You play Saturday, you recover on Sunday. You're not going to have your XI ready on Sunday because you are going to have aches and pains and knocks," he went on. "Then you travel to Madrid early Monday morning and you are not going to want to walk on to the pitch at the Bernabeu and start working on corners and set plays and shape because everyone will be looking at you. It's going to be very difficult to prepare for Real Madrid because Wigan are in the way."
Gareth Bale withdrew from Wales' squad to play England last week with a hamstring injury and is now a major doubt for the club's next two matches. The midfielder had only just recovered from a back injury before suffering his latest knock and Redknapp plans to leave a decision on whether the star man will play until the last minute.
"Gareth worked with the fitness coaches and he looked OK this morning," Redknapp added. "Whether he is OK to play two games this weekend is doubtful. We will have a look at that tomorrow and decide which way to go with it. We are going to leave it late. We'd love to have him fit but if he isn't fit then we can't play him."
The 21-year-old's influential role in getting Tottenham to the last eight means he will be a big loss if he is not fit to travel, although Redknapp is confident they can give the nine-time European champions a test even if he does not play. "We have other good players here who can play on the left," Redknapp said. "Niko Kranjcar has just gone off and had a couple of games for Croatia. Steven Pienaar is fit now too."
There was better news for the club with regard to Aaron Lennon's fitness. The winger pulled out of England's game against Ghana with a hamstring injury but Tottenham are confident that he will be fit to face Wigan. "Aaron is OK. He trained this morning. There isn't any problem with him," Redknapp said.