Gomes can deal with Delap danger, says Spurs keeper coach

SPURS' goalkeeping coach Tony Parks is backing his prot�g� Heurelho Gomes to succeed where many others have failed this season, and resist Rory Delap's lethal long throw at Stoke. Tottenham travel to the Britannia Stadium this Saturday...

By Ben Pearce

SPURS' goalkeeping coach Tony Parks is backing his prot�g� Heurelho Gomes to succeed where many others have failed this season, and resist Rory Delap's lethal long throw at Stoke.

Tottenham travel to the Britannia Stadium this Saturday to face City's not-so-secret weapon, a 38-metre missile delivered from the sidelines, which continues to blow holes in the league's best rearguards.

Arsenal and Manchester City are just two of the teams who have been wounded by Delap's deliveries in recent weeks, and Parks admits Spurs have their work out to repel the rockets when they face Tony Pulis's side.

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"I think it's very difficult to defend against. Rory Delap has certainly perfected a long throw that, for me, is almost more dangerous than a corner kick," Parks told the Journal.

"It's flat, it's low, it comes in at a slightly different angle obviously. His most dangerous area is probably where he's level with the 18-yard line.

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"It's a difficult one in terms of where do you pick up? Do you go man to man? And you have the added problem of there being no offsides for throw-ins, so Stoke will do all they can to pen the goalkeeper in.

"I think referees need to try to be a little bit stronger because goalkeepers can be obstructed from doing their work. I don't hold with the view that goalkeepers are overprotected. The referees need to work out who's running to block runners off and things like that.

"It is difficult but I don't think that you can overplan for it. You have to do your homework on it and then you have to have defenders and goalkeepers who are more committed than the attackers in terms of wanting to be the first contact on the ball."

Hackney-born Parks - whose penalty saves famously won the 1984 Uefa Cup final for Spurs - insists that he won't do any extra work with Gomes in preparation for Delap's throws, and the 47-year-old coach believes that Tottenham have the perfect man for the job in the Potteries.

"Harry [Redknapp] hasn't asked me to do any special preparation with him," said Parks. "Part of the preparation in the week before any game is to deal with crosses, whether that be corners or long throws, and that will be no different this week.

"On Thursday we'll have a whole day of giving him crosses from all different areas of the pitch. He is one of maybe three goalkeepers in the league that will definitely come and deal with crosses for you.

"What you have to realise then is that if you've got a goalkeeper who wants to come and help you out, now and again he's going to make mistakes.

"But I'd rather he made a positive mistake in coming to deal with a cross and trying to help the defence out than getting stuck and pinned on his line.

"If I remember correctly, just before I came to the club last year I think Gomes defended Delap's throw quite well up at Stoke."

In fact, Gomes was so 'positive' on his last trip to the Britannia Stadium that he knocked his own defender, Vedran 'Charlie' Corluka, unconscious with his knee, putting the Croatian international in hospital.

"Yeah well that was Charlie's fault for not getting out of the way in time, and if that happens again on Saturday and we defend it properly then we'll take that," said Parks.

"One of my big heroes when I was younger was Bruce Grobbelaar. One of the reasons why he was such a good goalkeeper was that he took goalkeeping to a new level.

"I thought he was one of the first breed of the modern-day goalkeeper who would come into areas that goalkeepers had never been seen before - 12 to 16 yards out, taking crosses.

"Bruce Grobbelaar got a hell of a lot of criticism for making mistakes, but if he came for 20 crosses and caught 19 of them, people would make the most of the one mistake.

"I think David James has been a little bit unfortunate in that regard. He's another goalkeeper who will definitely come and try to help a defence.

"No-one's perfect and there's going to be days when it doesn't work quite so well. But what you want is a strong character who will keep coming and saying 'that's my game. I'm going to keep coming and I'm going to keep dealing with crosses'. In Gomes I think we have one of those types.

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