No sooner have we dispatched Middlesbrough then we are turning our attention to the Boxing Day fixture at Tottenham. The Guardian is reporting that Spurs might be without centre back Jonathan Woodgate, whose back injury is becoming a cause for concern at the Lane.
Woodgate, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career, had to be substituted in the first half of Tottenham’s recent draw with Manchester United after suffering from a back spasm. He stayed in hospital overnight and missed the eventful UEFA Cup tie with Spartak Moscow the following Thursday in the hope that he would be able to line up against his former employers, Newcastle, at St. James’ Park on Sunday.
Alas, Woodgate missed out a return to the North East and has yet to train as the Tottenham medical staff assess his condition. His chances of success in Spain after big money move to Real Madrid, which came as a surprise to many given the fact that injuries might he was hardly a regular in the Newcastle team then, were scuppered by back trouble and it is another headache for Harry Redknapp.
The Spurs manager is still nursing Ledley King through the league campaign having taken the decision not to play the fragile club captain in Tottenham’s European or Cup campaigns. Redknapp still regards improving Spurs’ worrying league position as his main priority and King still struggles to play two games in a week due to a longstanding knee complaint. King is apparently considered a serious doubt for our Boxing Day visit.
That would leave Croatian international Vedran Corluka, who has been playing at right back recently, and Michael Dawson as Redknapp’s most likely pairing, and, although Didier Zokora can play as a makeshift centre back, he might not wish to reprise his role after looking vulnerable as Spurs shipped goals against Newcastle and Spartak. Dawson has hardly looked reassuring in recent weeks for Spurs, so Andy Johnson – and a fitter Bobby Zamora – could enjoy their afternoon at the Lane.
The injuries are ironic because only the other day I was reading in FulTime about how Johnson was surprised to receive praise from Woodgate during our home win over Spurs a month ago.
Even during the game with about 20 minutes to go Jonathan Woodgate said to me: “You two are a handful; I’ve never run so much in a game.” Then we heard Ledley King say it as well, and to hear two of the top centre-backs in the country say that about us was a real boost, and just confirmed what were already thinking.