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MATCH PREVIEW

Spurs hoping to clip the Magpies wings

High-flying Newcastle United make the trip to White Hart Lane on Saturday evening, sitting just eight points behind third placed Tottenham Hotspur.

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High-flying Newcastle United make the trip to White Hart Lane on Saturday evening, sitting just eight points behind third placed Tottenham Hotspur.

Both teams have surprised many with their respective positions as the Premier League giants look to secure Champions League football next season.

Fresh from his court case, an innocent Harry Redknapp takes his place again the dug-out having missed the 0-0 draw with Liverpool on Monday night due to technical difficulties with his plane.

However, he may have to persist with the defensive partnership of Michael Dawson and Ledley King with Younes Kaboul doubtful with a knee problem.

Furthermore, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe to look to miss out for the third consecutive league game with both still suffering from hamstring complaints.

Better news for Redknapp however should see the return of Rafael Van der Vaart after the Dutchman missed the Monday’s draw with Liverpool with a calf strain.

Long term absentees William Gallas and Tom Huddlestone look to set to miss out with calf and ankle injuries, respectively.

Potential starting XI

Friedel; Walker, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto; Kranjcar, Parker, Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart, Adebayor

Key battles

The back-four will need to be on top of their game if they are to handle the prolific Demba Ba. The Senegalese has continued his fine form following his return from the African Cup of Nations and will be looking to add to his 16 league goals on Saturday. Scott Parker and Luka Modric will be looking to get the better of midfield duo Danny Guthrie and Dan Gosling with regular midfield starters Yohan Cabaye and Cheik Tiote both unavailable while Gareth Bale will need to get the better of Davide Santon if he is to have a substantial impact on the fixture. 

Ben McAleer

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