Tottenham Hotspur Vs Arsenal, Wed 14 Apr 2010

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Football News

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp will make a late decision on the availability of Ledley King ahead of the north London derby against Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League.

The centre-back has been out since February with a thigh injury but trained on Tuesday and could start at White Hart Lane.

Niko Kranjcar is set to miss out with an ankle injury sustained in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final defeat to Portsmouth, fellow midfielder Aaron Lennon is still not fit to return from a groin problem and anchorman Wilson Palacios starts a two-game ban.

Younes Kaboul and Kyle Walker are available after being cup-tied at the weekend but Jermaine Jenas, Jonathan Woodgate (both groin) and Carlo Cudicini are out.

Manager Harry Redknapp believes his side have closed the gap on Arsenal, regardless of what happens in their latest meeting.

Spurs' chances of finishing fourth and qualifying for next season's Champions League could hinge on the result of the White Hart Lane showdown.

A win would narrow the deficit to Manchester City, who currently occupy fourth spot, to one point, but a defeat would leave Tottenham with a mountain to climb, especially with their next two games coming against Chelsea and Manchester United.

Redknapp reckons Spurs could finally get the better of their neighbours in the league next season.

"When everyone is fit we have a squad that can match Arsenal," said Redknapp.

"At the start of the year, who would have seen us fourth, compared to the likes of Liverpool and Man City with their resources? It shows the massive strides we've made.

"It's been massive progress this year. We're much closer to Arsenal now and we'll be even closer next year. We've got players who are improving and can only get better."

Dutch striker Robin van Persie will give Arsenal's title ambitions a timely boost when he returns against Spurs.

Van Persie, out for five months after rupturing ankle ligaments on international duty, is likely to start from the bench in a match which could see the Gunners leapfrog Manchester United.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits he is taking a "gamble" in bringing the striker back ahead of schedule but insists Arsenal have missed Van Persie's goal power this season.

Wenger, who lost William Gallas for the season when he came back too soon in the Champions League first leg against Barcelona, said: "There is always a gamble in this kind of decision. But in his (Van Persie's) case we have been a bit more cautious because he has had more time for preparation.

"The biggest gamble I took recently was with Gallas. It didn't work, but he came back from a muscular problem, that is not the case for Robin. It was a joint problem.

"When I pick a player it means he is fit and sharp and has worked very hard. Of course he lacks match-practice but physically he is ready, he is fit."

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