Tottenham will be looking to put speculation regarding manager Harry Redknapp’s future behind them this weekend when they face in-form Newcastle United at White Hart Lane with Paddy Power making Newcastle a cracking looking bet at 6/1.
From the moment Fabio Capello resigned as England boss, Redknapp was installed as the overwhelming favourite to succeed the Italian and Spurs will hope this doesn’t prove too much of a distraction.
There is certainly no doubt that Redknapp will want to celebrate a good week – he was cleared of tax evasion after a five year investigation – with a victory, showing his focus for Tottenham in the process.
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Everything else aside, it is certainly a game that Tottenham could do with winning. They dropped points at Anfield last time out and now sit seven points adrift of league leaders Manchester City.
If they are to stay in touch with the top two, they need a good run over the next month or so. They could also do with fending off the challenge of the chasing pack, with Chelsea and this weekend’s opponents Newcastle hoping to close the gap on 3rd place in the next few weeks.
As for the away side, well they are going from strength to strength. There was a fear that they would slip down the table while key players were away at the Africa Cup of Nations, but this was not the case.
In fact, Alan Pardew’s men have moved up to 5th position in the last couple of weeks, something they consolidated with an excellent 2-1 win over Aston Villa last weekend.
During this victory – the 12th of a memorable Premier League season – leading scorer Demba Ba and new signing Papiss Demba Cisse both marked their return from the Africa Cup of Nations with a goal and now the path is clear for Newcastle to finish the season strongly.
When these two teams met earlier this season, they played out an entertaining 2-2 draw and even though Spurs will be favourites on Saturday, a similarly competitive contest is expected.
Looking at the team news for the 5.30pm kick-off, Tottenham could be boosted by the return of Rafael van der Vaart, Younes Kaboul, Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon. Newcastle meanwhile will be without Steven Taylor, Shola Ameobi and Leon Best.