By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Steffen Freund says Benoit Assou-Ekotto is available to start against Coventry on Saturday – but Younes Kaboul will be out of action for another six weeks.
Assou-Ekotto and Kaboul have been absent since August with knee injuries and, although Freund had good news on the left-back’s recovery, he admits it will be a while before Kaboul is back in contention.
“We have a really strong squad now. We have a lot of players who have been on the bench who deserve to start, and they are really good players,” said Spurs’ assistant coach.
“Benoit Assou-Ekotto is coming back after an injury – he is available to play. Scott Parker is back now and I think we have a far better situation now.
“It’s too early to say if they [Assou-Ekotto and Parker] will start. We have two days to go, Andre will make his decision tomorrow or on Saturday.
“What I can say is that we have a really strong squad - not only 11, not 20 but 27 players with a lot of good youngsters behind.”
On Kaboul’s recovery schedule, Freund added: “It looks good, he’s running for 20 or 25 minutes on the road and it’s good news and no problems with his knee so far.
“He’s on a six-week programme from the medical staff and starting to work now with the fitness coaches.
“It’s difficult to say now which game he will be back but hopefully in the middle or end of February.
“Of course he’s frustrated, he likes to be involved – especially when you are successful. But he’s a really important part of Tottenham, of our squad. He has a lot of leadership qualities and we are waiting to have him back as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, Tottenham are still waiting for Emmanuel Adebayor’s decision over whether he will depart for the African Cup of Nations, which starts on January 19.
Togo will play a warm-up game in Niger on Saturday, January 5, and then head to Accra in Ghana for a six-day training camp.
“We don’t know yet,” said Freund. “I think the preparations of most of the teams have started already. We have to wait.
“We would love him in the squad, and that he would not go to the African Cup of Nations, but it’s a massive tournament and we respect his decision.
“It’s difficult to say anything now. For us it’s important that he’s playing with us, but if he’s involved and he goes then we respect that.
“Let’s wait for Ade’s decision. We have been successful with and without him in the team. He was injured for eight games and we had a really good run without him.
“We are strong with him as well - he scored in the last game. But that’s why we have [Jermain] Defoe and [Clint] Dempsey - they can play up front, and so can [Gylfi] Sigurdsson.”
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