Spurs depleted ahead of Rubin clash
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is facing a major injury crisis in defence ahead of tomorrow's UEFA Europa League match against Russian side Rubin Kazan in Group A.
Sebastien Bassong and Younes Kaboul are Spurs' only two fit centre-backs after Ledley King joined Michael Dawson, William Gallas and Vedran Corluka on the club's injury list after going off with a groin tear in Sunday's 2-2 draw at Newcastle United.
"Central defence is a big problem for us," Redknapp said. "We are really down to two central defenders. The problem is that we have no one who will be back fit at the weekend so if one of them gets a knock on Thursday, we will be bang in trouble for Sunday's game against Blackburn."
Although the scenario is not ideal ahead of two games in four days, Redknapp would have been in even more trouble had King's injury been as bad as first feared.
"Ledley has had a scan. He has a slight tear in his abductor. It's not too bad," Redknapp explained. "It's only a grade one tear, which is not so bad, so it shouldn't be too long."
Redknapp is likely to rest the majority of the team that drew against Newcastle, with Danny Rose, Andros Townsend, Tom Carroll, Giovani dos Santos and Roman Pavlyuchenko likely to be drafted in while the likes of Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Scott Parker are rested ahead of this weekend's trip to Ewood Park.
For Rose, the Europa League campaign gives him a chance to push his claim for a place in Redknapp's first-choice starting line-up after a frustrating 18 months that began with him scoring a 30-yard screamer on his full debut against Arsenal but has since been plagued by injuries.
Rose remembers the strike fondly, but now wants to move on and prove that he can play well on a regular basis. "I still get fans coming up to me now talking about my goal against Arsenal. It's great they remember it," Rose said.
"It was probably the pinnacle of my career to date, but it was 18 months ago and I have to look to the future now."
Spurs are likely to face the toughest test of their European campaign so far, with Rubin having picked up four points from their opening two matches. With no fresh major injury concerns, Rubin manager Kurban Berdyev could name the same starting line-up that were held to a 2-2 draw against Greek side PAOK in Kazan two weeks ago.
Rubin have established themselves as a force in Europe in recent years and stunned Barcelona to earn a win and a draw in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League.