Will Spurs boss risk half-fit Michael Dawson after losing Kaboul?
HARRY Redknapp will have to decide whether to throw a half-fit Michael Dawson back into the fray this weekend after losing Younes Kaboul to injury on Sunday.
Kaboul limped off 36 minutes into the 2-1 win over Liverpool with a hip injury and is highly unlikely to feature this weekend.
Kaboul was replaced by Sebastian Bassong on Sunday and, although the Cameroon international denied Fernando Torres with two excellent last-ditch tackles, Liverpool opened Spurs up on a number of occasions.
The last time the Cameroon international started with William Gallas, Spurs conceded four goals in the opening 35 minutes at the San Siro. And, on top of that, Kaboul’s injury has robbed Tottenham of their most dominant centre-back in the air.
Liverpool’s goal on Sunday came from a free kick into the box – after Kaboul had been withdrawn – and Birmingham, who are rarely beaten at home, are known to represent a real danger at set pieces.
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Redknapp may therefore be tempted to gamble on Dawson, who is back in full training after missing the last 18 Spurs matches with a knee injury, sustained with England in September.
The 27-year-old was due to take part in a friendly at Spurs Lodge on Tuesday but that was postponed due to the snow, leaving Redknapp with a half-fit England international in his squad.
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Dawson was targeting a return against Chelsea on Sunday December 12 but Redknapp may be tempted to push him back into action at Birmingham.
Whatever happens, Spurs will almost certainly line up at St Andrew’s without the Gallas -Kaboul axis which has anchored the rearguard for the last nine games.
That pairing took over in the 1-1 draw against Everton on October 23, becoming Tottenham’s 12th different partnership in 15 games. Six weeks later, Redknapp is ruing the loss of his longest-serving centre-back unit this season.
Gallas and Kaboul conceded 13 goals together but the Frenchmen helped Spurs to their victory over Inter Milan and have also played their part in the current four-match winning streak – with Kaboul scoring in two of them.
“They’ve done a fantastic job,” said Redknapp. “Younes has improved with experience, and having William alongside him has helped him.
“Younes has got everything to be a top centre-half, in terms of pace, he’s a fantastic header of the ball, a great striker of the ball, a great passer. He was in the French squad the other week at Wembley.
“William has been one of the signings of the season – on a free transfer as well. I was amazed that other people didn’t take him. I could think of quite a few clubs who could use a William Gallas in their team right now, so we’re fortune to have him.
“He’s experienced and he’s a very focused professional. He doesn’t stand people not being as focused as he is, which is good. Every club needs that and I couldn’t have asked for more than William Gallas has given us.”