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Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview
Published : 21 Aug 2010 07:30:35
Stoke boss Tony Pulis believes Tottenham have a realistic chance of challenging for the Barclays Premier League title this season.
The Potters play their opening home fixture of the 2010/11 campaign against a Spurs side with lofty ambitions after they broke into the top four last term to earn a shot at qualifying for the Champions League.
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Their manager Harry Redknapp has already stated his aim of building on that with a push for the Premier League title and Pulis feels it is achievable with the goalscoring threat Tottenham pose.
"You look at Tottenham and the quality and depth that they have got, and I heard Harry talking in pre-season about them being title contenders," Pulis said.
"I think they have got a great chance, I really do. I just think they have got goals everywhere.
"If you look at the team, the centre-halves will score off set-plays and they have midfielders - whether it's central players like Tom Huddlestone and Luka Modric, or wide players like Niko Kranjcar and Aaron Lennon - who score goals.
"And then the four forwards, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Peter Crouch, Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe - it's not too bad is it?"
Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones could make a swift return to action.
Jones, who joined the Potters earlier this month for a club record #8million from Sunderland, limped off with an ankle problem barely 10 minutes into their Barclays Premier League opener at Wolves last weekend, but a series of scans and X-rays showed the Trinidadian had suffered only minor ligament damage.
Liam Lawrence remains sidelined after sustaining a groin strain, while new forward Jon Walters could make his debut having arrived from Ipswich this week.
Meanwhile, Harry Redknapp has urged sceptical Tottenham fans to give former Arsenal defender William Gallas the chance to become a White Hart Lane hero.
Gallas, 33, is on the brink of crossing the north London divide after agreeing a one-year contract with Spurs, with a medical the only stumbling block to his signing.
But passing that test could end up being child's play compared to winning over his new club's supporters, who have been almost conditioned to jeer the former Gunners and Chelsea defender over the last decade.
But Redknapp cannot understand anyone wanting to abuse the France international because he used to play for the enemy.
"He's done nothing wrong. What's he done wrong?" said Redknapp. "He's not the first player to go from Arsenal to Tottenham or Tottenham to Arsenal.
"It happens all the time. He won championships and all sorts at Chelsea. He's a great lad as well, smashing fellow. I've been absolutely really impressed with him.
"He'll improve Tottenham and that's all I'm concerned about. He wants to come here and play and I think that shows the character.
"He could say, 'I played at Arsenal; I daren't go there'. He's got the bottle to want to come and play here."
Tottenham have a major injury crisis for the game, with Redknapp admitting he is struggling to fill his bench.
Peter Crouch is Spurs' only fit striker, with Jermain Defoe (groin), Robbie Keane (knee) and Roman Pavyluchenko (ankle) all out.
Giovani dos Santos (hamstring) also picked up an injury on the artificial pitch at Young Boys on Tuesday night, Luka Modric has failed to recover from his groin strain, while Redknapp must decide whether to field Ledley King or save him for Wednesday's Champions League return match with the Swiss side.