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The King returns

PUBLISHED: 14:58 07 December 2007 | UPDATED: 14:38 07 September 2010

LONDON - MAY 13:  Ledley King of Tottenham runs with the ball during the Barclays Premiership match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at White Hart Lane on May 13, 2007 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

LONDON - MAY 13: Ledley King of Tottenham runs with the ball during the Barclays Premiership match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at White Hart Lane on May 13, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

2007 Getty Images

TOTTENHAM'S impoverished defence had the boost it so desperately needed on Tuesday night as club captain and talisman Ledley King made a successful return from injury in the reserves. After six frustrating months on the sidelines following a summer knee

TOTTENHAM'S impoverished defence had the boost it so desperately needed on Tuesday night as club captain and talisman Ledley King made a successful return from injury in the reserves.

After six frustrating months on the sidelines following a summer knee operation, King (pictured) came through 45 minutes against Fulham reserves at Craven Cottage without a hitch.

Little could the 27-year-old have expected that by the time of his first start of the season, the first team would lie just one point above the relegation places having garnered a paltry 12 points from 15 fixtures.

But King - one of three Spurs defenders to make returns from injury at Fulham - says he will need more game-time before he'll be ready to play for new boss Juande Ramos.

"It was nice just to come through 45, my first in six months or so, and it feels good," he said.

"The medical staff have been brilliant and have helped me to get to where I am now. I had confidence in the knee going out there and that is a good feeling."

King said he felt no ill effects after the match. "I feel fine - it was good to come through it. As long as the knee is fine, I'm happy. I've had my fair share of injuries, but this has been the longest one.

"They're all as frustrating as each other, but this has been the one I've had to be most careful with and I had to make sure I was right before coming back so that I don't have any more problems.

"I feel I've done that and hopefully I will get the rewards from it. I'm now just thinking about trying to get as many minutes under my belt as I can before trying to get back into the first team squad."

Spurs have leaked 28 goals in 15 league games this season and last Sunday's 3-2 home defeat to Birmingham epitomised their inability to stand firm and close out a match.

Michael Dawson has looked a shadow of himself without King in the side and will doubtless welcome the skipper's return as much as anyone.

But Dawson will be pushed hard for his place by Ricardo Rocha and Dorian Dervitte, both of whom returned to the fray at Craven Cottage.

Rocha has made just five first team appearances this season due to an ankle injury, while Dervitte, the impressive French youngster who has been out with a serious knee injury, will seek to establish himself having played just once for the club in the league cup.

However, there is also bad news on the defensive front as two left-footers are facing time out with injury.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after his continuing knee problems forced him to seek surgery.

And Gareth Bale, whose electric pace and ability to whip the ball have proven so potent for Spurs since his arrival in the summer, is also awaiting news on the severity of the injury he sustained when tackled by Fabrice Muamba against Birmingham.

The tackle forced him from the field in the 71st minute clutching his right foot and meant he was unlikely to play in last night's Uefa Cup match at Anderlecht, from which Spurs needed a point to ensure their qualification to the knock-out stages.

l Spurs have drawn Reading at home in the third round of the FA Cup, to be played on the weekend of January 5.

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