Cardiff V Spurs at Cardiff City Stadium : Match Preview
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Mackay raves about Spurs
Tottenham may have sold Gareth Bale but Cardiff boss Malky Mackay believes they can now rival the Barclays Premier League big guns.
Bale's world-record move to Real Madrid dominated the summer transfer window, but Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas made a number of quality additions to his squad to offset the loss of the Wales international.
Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Nacer Chadli are among the new faces recruited in spending a summer outlay of over B#100million.
Mackay believes the series of signings now make Tottenham a better side, even without Bale.
"The talk all summer was that the Bale deal was happening, but Spurs went out and brought all those players in and then eventually did the deal," he said.
"It looks to be very good business. Everyone knew in football that the players they brought in were top talents who were on the market.
"They were all going to cost quite a lot of money, but the extraordinary money that the Bale deal actually made for the club meant they were able to go and do that.
"It looks like a Champions League squad now, it is absolutely a match for the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.
"The players he already had were a good top-six team, but I think they have strength in depth with the players they have brought in. Some of those players I covet."
Villas-Boas has complained about fixture congestion ahead of their trip to face the Bluebirds at Cardiff City Stadium, bemoaning the fact his side will play three games in six days.
But Mackay feels his opposite number would have a different perspective had he managed in the league below.
"They should join the Championship," said the Scot.
"We had to cope with that every week. It is something we are used to as in the league we were in it was a regular occurrence in terms of fixture pile-up and the games you have got in a short space of time.
"It is something you have to deal with and the size of your squad helps. I have got great staff here that organise the logistics, when we travel, where we stay, who plays, how we recover, and the structure going into the next game.
"It is something you have to deal with.
"But I don't doubt they will be firing on all cylinders on Sunday. The Premier League is the be all and end all for them.
"Spurs' agenda this year, I am sure, is to be a Champions League team. They may have a big fixture list, but they also have a big squad full of quality."
David Marshall is set to return to the Cardiff starting line-up. The Scotland keeper missed the draw at Hull after picking up a hip injury on international duty, but he is back to full fitness, along with Craig Bellamy.
Left-back Danny Rose is a big doubt for Tottenham after he limped off in Thursday night's Europa League clash against Tromso with an ankle injury.
Defender Younes Kaboul (adductor) and midfielder Mousa Dembele (ankle) also came off against the Norwegians, but manager Villas-Boas is confident both will be fit for the trip to Wales.
Capoue (ankle) and Aaron Lennon (foot) are out, winger Chadli (adductor) is doubtful, but defender Vlad Chiriches could make his debut after finally receiving his work permit.
Jermain Defoe will be doing everything he can do embarrass former team-mate Steven Caulker on Sunday.
Caulker had been tipped for a long and successful career at Spurs following his progress through the youth ranks, but he was surprisingly sold this summer to Cardiff for B#8.5million.
Caulker has played a big part in the Bluebirds' commendable start to their first Premier League campaign, but Defoe hopes to get one over on the 21-year-old on Sunday afternoon.
"I have told him already that if I play, he is getting it," Defoe said with a smile.
"I would love to score so I can wind him up."
Caulker joined Spurs six months after Defoe began his second spell at the north London club and the two evidently became close.
It was expected that he would stay at Spurs following the departure of William Gallas but, having made his England debut last season, the centre-back wanted regular first-team football to give him a shot at going to the World Cup.
Defoe thinks Caulker, who made 28 appearances for Spurs last season, has the potential to achieve great things.
"He is a good player, still young and has a great future ahead of him," said Defoe, who has also been impressed with Cardiff team as a whole.
"They have started the season well and they have got good players so it will be a hard game for us."
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