Normally you’d describe this game as a dress rehearsal for the FA Cup semi final, but given that there are so many players likely to be injured for both teams, it’s likely that the game at Wembley could feature an entirely different cast list.
Corluka, Defoe, Jenas and Rose are all out, along with King, Lennon and Woodgate. We also have to give fitness tests to Bassong, Palacios, Pavlyuchenko and Walker.
Who knows who’ll we’ll see play tomorrow. I think it’s fair to say that Younes Kaboul will make an appearance, although unfortunately he can’t play at right back, centre back and central midfield at the same time.
I suppose even if all those aforementioned players were injured we could still play a team with Assou-Ekotto and Bale as full backs; Dawson and Bassong in central defence; a midfield of Modric, Huddlestone, Kranjcar and Bentley; with Crouch and Gudjohnsen in attack. It’s a testament to the quality of our squad that with the exception of Dawson, all those players are internationals (and Dawson should be too if Matthew Upson can get a game for England).
That side could beat a full strength Portsmouth team, but the side we should face tomorrow will be without Belhadj, Ben Haim, Utaka, Boateng, Diop, Yebda, Dindane, O’Hara, Rocha and Smith. With those players out I reckon that I could be in the Spurs team tomorrow and we’d still win.
The player that they’ll miss the most in O’Hara. Of the seven games that he’s missed for them this season, Portsmouth have lost six and drawn one.
So I’m far more optimistic than I normally would be when our team are plagued by injuries. A win will really put the pressure on Liverpool, who are in action on Sunday and Manchester City, who play on Monday night. You’d expect them both to win their games, but when you know you’ve absolutely got to get a victory to play catch up, then it can create a psychological barrier.
It’s time to kick a lame dog whilst it’s down. Come on you Spurs!