Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas hopes Gareth Bale's return will help his side cement their position in the top four over the festive period.

Bale is fit to face Stoke in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday after overcoming the hamstring problem that has ruled him out for the last three weeks. The Welshman had looked in irresistible form prior to the injury, scoring nine goals and setting up several others thanks to his precise crossing and devastating pace.

Spurs will move ahead of Chelsea into third if they beat Stoke and then have winnable fixtures against Aston Villa, Sunderland, Reading and QPR in a packed festive season. Villas-Boas is delighted to have Bale back, saying: "Yes, we have missed him. He is an important player for us. He can make the difference."

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