Tottenham Hotspur Vs Manchester United, Sun 16 Jan 2011

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Football News

Gareth Bale is likely to return to the Tottenham first team for Sunday's match against Manchester United despite missing two days' training this week due to a back injury he picked up just over a week ago against Everton.

Younes Kaboul is back after completing a three-match suspension but Ledley King is likely to be out for some time after aggravating his groin injury in training this week.

Jonathan Woodgate (groin) and Jamie O'Hara (back) have been training this week but are not yet fully fit and Tom Huddlestone is around a month away from a return from his ankle injury.

Harry Redknapp has backed Rafael van der Vaart to match Dimitar Berbatov's achievement of passing the 20-goal mark in his first season at Tottenham.

Van der Vaart is widely regarded as the buy of the season so far after making a huge impact since his #8million deadline day move from Real Madrid last summer.

The Dutchman struggled to live up to hype surrounding him at Real but has been a big hit at Tottenham, where he has scored 11 goals and provided several assists to spearhead Spurs' push for domestic and European honours.

Berbatov had a similar impact when he arrived at White Hart Lane, scoring 23 times in his first year while club legend Jurgen Klinsmann proved a similarly instant success, bagging 30 in his maiden term.

Redknapp is convinced that the 27-year-old can continue his scoring form and match the achievements of Berbatov, who could line up against his previous employers.

"Van der Vaart has been a great player for us," Redknapp said.

"We trained on Tuesday or Wednesday and some of the stuff he did was fantastic.

"Look at the goals he's scored, and he's not even a striker.

"He can make the pass, make goals, link the play up and also has the ability to score goals.

"He got 20 in Germany one season (with Hamburg) and he looks a 20-goal player in the Premier League, which is fantastic for a player who plays where he plays and how he plays."

Ryan Giggs will make his 600th league appearance for United if he plays and Redknapp is in awe of the Welshman's achievement.

"600 games? Fantastic. Giggs is a great player and a great lad," Redknapp said. "I don't know him well but he's a class act on and off the pitch.

"That little group - Scholes, Beckham and the Nevilles - that era was an amazing era. All that team were real Manchester United weren't they? He is a credit to the game."

Wayne Rooney is set to return from an ankle injury as Manchester United defend their unbeaten record.

Rooney has missed two games but has trained this week and is expected to face Redknapp's men.

Nemanja Vidic and Edwin van der Sar are also fit after recent absences as United look to consolidate their position as Premier League pace-setters.

Had Sir Alex Ferguson got his way, Bale would be turning out in a red shirt.

The Tottenham star is clearly a man Manchester United must play special attention to as they look to maintain their unbeaten Premier League record.

With 11 goals to his name, including a hat-trick against Inter Milan in the San Siro, the 21-year-old has catapulted himself into an elite group of world stars.

It is talent Ferguson spotted a very long time ago, only to be thwarted in his attempt to get it.

"We tried to sign him as a 16 or 17-year-old boy," reflected the United chief.

"Southampton had a Scottish chief executive and George Burley was the manager.

"I don't know the full circumstances but they didn't accept our offer and I think they must have alerted Tottenham."

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

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Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League
Manchester United

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