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MATCH PREVIEW

Villians hoping to spoil Harry return

Harry Redknapp is welcomed back to the dug-out tonight, as Alex McLeish’s Aston Villa hope to put Spurs’ current unbeaten run to an abrupt end.

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Harry Redknapp is welcomed back to the dug-out tonight, as Alex McLeish’s Aston Villa hope to put Spurs’ current unbeaten run to an abrupt end.

Redknapp had been forced to hand over first-team duties to Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond in the defeat to Rubin Kazan and win over Fulham prior to the international break after undergoing minor heart surgery.

And despite rumours that he would face a further four weeks on the sidelines, the Spurs boss confirmed last night he will return to managerial duties for the welcome of Villa.

The only major doubt remains over Rafael Van der Vaart, the Dutchman forced off with a hamstring problem during Holland’s 0-0 draw with Switzerland.

However, the 28-year-old took to social networking site Twitter to confirm that he is fit to face Villa tonight, his inclusion proving more pivotal by the fact he scored a brace in both wins over Spurs’ opponents last season.

Niko Kranjcar (thigh), Danny Rose (ankle), Michael Dawson (Achilles) and Tom Huddlestone (ankle) all remained sidelined however.

Potential starting XI

Friedel; Walker, King, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Modric, Parker, Bale; Van der Vaart, Adebayor

Key Battles

Friedel comes up against his former employers, of where he made over 100 league appearances for, for the first time tonight following his summer switch to White Hart Lane and the American will have his work cut out with former Spur Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor hitting form this season, the pair scoring five league goals each this season. 

Alan Hutton, another former Spur, will have his work cut out tonight against Gareth Bale, the Welshman beginning to hit his stride again after an indifferent start to the season while Emmanuel Adebayor will be looking to score his first goal since the 4-0 over Liverpool in September but will have his work cut out against the trio of Richard Dunne, James Collins and Shay Given. 

Ben McAleer

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