Tottenham Hotspur Vs Blackburn Rovers, Sat 13 Nov 2010

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Tottenham face a major injury crisis for their Barclays Premier League clash with Blackburn.

Spurs could have an entire team out injured and only one fit striker for the game at White Hart Lane.

Eight players are definitely sidelined, with a further three rated doubtful, including Tom Huddlestone (ankle), Roman Pavlyuchenko (back) and David Bentley (calf).

Robbie Keane (ankle) and Aaron Lennon (hamstring) are still missing, and Giovani dos Santos (groin) is also out, joining captain Ledley King (groin), Jermain Defoe, Michael Dawson (both ligament damage), Jamie O'Hara (back) and Jonathan Woodgate (groin) in the treatment room.

Assistant manager Kevin Bond said: "We've got 11 of our first-team squad out or probably not likely to be fit for the weekend.

"So we're struggling on the injury front at the moment."

Should Pavlyuchenko - who went off injured at half-time of Tuesday night's 1-1 draw with Sunderland - fail to make it, that would leave Peter Crouch as Tottenham's only fit forward.

Russia star Pavlyuchenko has been undergoing acupuncture in a desperate bid to make himself available and Bond admitted medics were prepared to do "anything to try to get him fit".

Rafael van der Vaart is set to play but Tottenham's talismanic summer signing from Real Madrid has also been suffering from tightness in his hamstrings due to not having a proper pre-season.

Bond said: "We are trying to work on it but it's very difficult because, at the moment, we're playing two games a week.

"We need a free week to get on the training ground and do some extra work.

"Hopefully, we think, the games themselves will bring him on a bit as well."

All is not well with Crouch either, with the England striker in the middle of a six-month goal drought in the league.

Bond said: "He's just going through one of those periods where he's not scoring himself but I think nearly every goal that Rafa scores comes off a Peter Crouch assist.

"Obviously, from a confidence point of view, every goalscorer needs goals.

"If one goes in off his backside at Tooting, I think maybe you'd see a different Peter Crouch and hopefully we'll see a few more goals from him."

Spurs' injury crisis has come at the worst possible time, with the club having taken just two points out of 12 in the league to leave themselves battling to secure Champions League football for a second straight season.

Injuries mean Niko Kranjcar looks set to be handed his second start of the season in the week the Croatia midfielder threatened to leave if he did not get more first-team action.

Bond, who insisted Redknapp would decide whether Kranjcar would be sold, said: "It didn't surprise me at all that he wasn't happy.

"It would surprise me if he was anything other than that to be truthful."

Blackburn assistant boss Neil McDonald hopes Rovers can follow the lead of Bolton and Sunderland and extend Tottenham's Champions League hangover.

Spurs were on cloud nine earlier this month after notching a superb 3-1 victory over Inter Milan to go top of their group in Europe, but have since been brought back down to earth by a 4-2 defeat at Bolton and a 1-1 home draw with Sunderland.

"Those two games against Inter were very high profile and they worked very hard to try and get the results, especially the one at home, which was fantastic," McDonald said.

"In the Premier League teams that go away from home and play the big guns have to get their tactics right.

"We have to do exactly the same as what Bolton and Sunderland have done, trying to stop Tottenham from playing as much as we possibly can and impose our game on them."

The trip to the capital comes hot on the heels of Wednesday night's away game at Newcastle, where Rovers' strategy appeared to be spot on as manager Sam Allardyce made a winning return against the club he had a short stint in charge of three years ago.

"For the manager to go back to the club that sacked him, it is very satisfying, and the performance was excellent - apart from the goal we conceded, which we are very disappointed with," McDonald said of the 2-1 victory."

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce has no fresh injury concerns. Striker Jason Roberts is pushing for a place in the starting line-up having come off the bench to score the winner in Rovers' last two games.

Benjani Mwaruwari, Martin Olsson, Steven Nzonzi, Keith Andrews and Vince Grella are all yet to regain full fitness.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Tottenham Hotspur
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League

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