Bassong: Birmingham have earned the right to Spurs respect
SEBASTIEN Bassong is warning expectant Tottenham fans that Birmingham are sitting in the top eight on merit as the Lilywhites prepare to travel to the second city. Spurs visit St Andrew's on Saturday...
By Ben Pearce
SEBASTIEN Bassong is warning expectant Tottenham fans that Birmingham are sitting in the top eight on merit as the Lilywhites prepare to travel to the second city.
Spurs visit St Andrew's on Saturday, hoping to build on Tuesday night's victory over Fulham - their first win in four games after defeat against Liverpool and disappointing draws with Hull City and Leeds.
Bassong is sure to come back into the side and replace Ledley King, who played the full 90 minutes against Fulham in midweek and cannot play twice in a week due to his long-term knee injury.
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The Cameroon international believes that Alex McLeish's side are one of the surprise packages of the season, and he is preparing travelling Spurs fans for an edgy Saturday afternoon.
"I think they're having a really good season. They were only promoted in the summer and now so they're seventh or eighth in the table. They're doing great and it's very good for them," the defender told the Journal.
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"I think a lot of people are very surprised about what they've done, but if they're in this position after more than 20 games then maybe they deserve this position. They're playing well and they've got no pressure, so it's a good time for them.
"We have to respect every team, and when we look at the way the way they play we have to be very very careful about them. We've just got to play our football and see what happens.
"We saw how difficult they are to beat earlier in the season at White Hart Lane. Aaron [Lennon] scored the winning goal in I think the 95th minute or something, and I think it's going to be the same type of game again. But we played well on Tuesday and we will try to do the same on Saturday."
Spurs will be unable to call on Lennon for injury-time heroics this time around, as the winger continues his recovery from a groin strain sustained against West Ham at the end of December.
The 22-year-old England international is keen to make his return at Elland Road, where he started his career, when the Lilywhites travel to Leeds for their FA Cup replay next Tuesday night.
But manager Harry Redknapp insists he will not be letting his heart rule his head and allow one of his star players to risk a setback.
"We miss Aaron big time, he's got pace and he gets at people for us and he's a real threat. He can open the game up for you," said the boss. "We can pass it without him but we lack that somebody we can give it to and they can carry the game.
"I don't like putting dates on when players are fit. Let's hope the scans show that it's healing well and that he could be back. But it's important not to rush him back, we wouldn't take that chance.