Tottenham Hotspur Vs Sunderland, Tue 9 Nov 2010

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Rafael van der Vaart remains a major doubt for Tottenham's Barclays Premier League game against Sunderland with a hamstring injury.

Midfielder Van der Vaart is still nursing the problem that kept him out of Saturday's 4-2 defeat at Bolton, while defender William Gallas also picked up a knock at the Reebok Stadium and was due to be assessed.

Aaron Lennon and Robbie Keane are struggling with respective hamstring and ankle injuries, while captain Ledley King (groin) is still out, and Jermain Defoe, Michael Dawson (both ligament damage), Jamie O'Hara (back) and Jonathan Woodgate (groin) are long-term absentees.

Boss Harry Redknapp admitted Chelsea's defeat at Liverpool was bad news for his side's hopes of finishing fourth for a second straight season.

The result moved Liverpool level on 15 points with Spurs, who are now five adrift of the top four having taken just one point from their last three league games.

Redknapp said: "If we're all realistic, a top-four finish is what you're looking for and, if you're doing that, you want Liverpool out the way.

"I'd be a liar if I sat here and said I thought it was a great result for the rest of us."

He added: "It's going to be even harder this year to get a top-four place.

"Man City are definitely stronger than last year; they've improved, bought some big players.

"People wrote Liverpool off a few weeks ago; I thought that was nonsense because they were always going to come good.

"To keep them out of the top four is going to be difficult again this year."

Sunderland striker Darren Bent could be sidelined for several weeks by the hamstring injury which kept him out of Saturday's 2-0 victory over Stoke.

The England international was due to have another scan on the problem, which he picked up in training on Friday, and is extremely unlikely to be involved.

Central defender John Mensah is also a major doubt as a result of the shoulder injury he suffered at the weekend, although Titus Bramble is available after serving a one-match ban.

The Black Cats desperately needed a victory in the wake of the derby drubbing at Newcastle, and they travel to London determined to address a poor away record which is hampering their efforts to establish themselves in the top half of the table.

Bruce said: "We keep talking about it, but we are not alone in it, you know.

"Stoke, Fulham, Blackburn, Wigan - I can give you umpteen where people find it difficult to win in this league.

"That's why it is as tough a league as it is. This Barclays Premier League is as tough as I have ever known it.

"Every team is competitive - as we have seen again, from Blackpool (drawing with Everton) to Wolves losing (to Manchester United) in the last minute - it's a great league we are in and to be up sitting where we are at the moment, I am very, very pleased."

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