Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has backed Jermain Defoe to play a key role in his team’s title push.
The Spurs boss also said he could understand the frustration Defoe was feeling at not playing regularly this season.
This situation will change once at least on Sunday when the White Hart Lane club travel for a crunch match with Manchester City, as Emmanuel Adebayor will be unavailable due to the terms of his loan agreement.
“Jermain Defoe is one of the finest finishers I've seen,” said Redknapp in his column for The Sun.
“It's been difficult for him at Tottenham this season and I can understand his frustration.
“With Emmanuel Adebayor here, it's been a case of Manu and who else up front?
“Now, with Manu's loan terms preventing him from playing against his parent club Man City, Jermain has a chance to make a huge impact on the title race and the competition to get into the Champions League next season.”
Defoe will have to be at his best if he is to help Tottenham pull off what would be a surprise victory.
Manchester City have won all ten of their home league games this season and will be in no mood to relinquish that record.
However, the meeting with Redknapp’s side could prove to be the toughest test they have faced yet.
The north London club were soundly beaten 5-1 when City visited White Hart Lane early in the season, but this next encounter is expected to go quite differently.
Tottenham have only lost once in the league since that defeat and City have some important players missing.
Captain Vincent Kompany is ruled out due to suspension, Mario Balotelli is expected to be absent due to injury and both Toure brothers are away on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast.