Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa: Preview

01 October 2010 06:26
Tottenham will once again check on the fitness of captain Ledley King before deciding on their line-up for the Barclays Premier League clash with Aston Villa.

King overcame problems with his groin and notoriously fragile knees to skipper the side in Wednesday night's Champions League thrashing of FC Twente.

- Premier League fixtures / Premier League table

Should he start this weekend, he will once again be partnered by Sebastien Bassong, with William Gallas (groin) and Younes Kaboul (hamstring) both still missing, joining long-term absentees Jermain Defoe, Michael Dawson (both ligament damage), Jamie O'Hara (back) and Jonathan Woodgate (groin) on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, manager Harry Redknapp has welcomed former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier's return to English football.

"He's a great football man so it's good to have him back in the game," he said of the Frenchman.

"It was a big shock Martin left, for sure.

"But they've got a very, very good group of players there, who last year were always pushing for a top-four finish.

"They've been a top-six team for the last couple years and they'll be right there again this year, I'm sure."

- Redknapp avoids stadium debate

Ashley Young is on the verge of signing a new long-term contract with Aston Villa.

Houllier confirmed that Young will be tying up his new deal "sooner rather than later", and he is expected to commit for four years.

Young, who has just under two years left of his current contract, has started the season in sparkling form.

He has effectively switched from the wing into a second striker role behind Emile Heskey.

When asked about Young's new contract, Houllier said: "The good news should come early, sooner rather than later."

- Young poised to sign new Aston Villa deal

Young will line up against Tottenham who were linked with trying to sign the player from Villa during the summer.

Houllier has challenged him to take his game to another level so he becomes an England regular rather than a squad player.

The former Liverpool boss said: "Ashley, to me, has international qualities.

"He is clever, reads the game well, works hard, is quick, has got quick feet, can score goals, make goals, takes part in movements to prepare goals.

"Whether he can play for the national team is not down to me to say yes or no.

"All I know is that we want the player to step up another level because he is on the fringe of the international team.

"I want him to be a regular player (for England).

"If you are happy with your game, you are not going to improve. You will stay at the same level and then some players will overtake you.

"But his involvement and dedication to what he does at training is really a good sign for the future for him."

Defender Richard Dunne is back in contention after recovering from a knee problem but striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is out.

Republic of Ireland international Dunne, who missed the Carling Cup clash with Blackburn and the league derby at Wolves, resumed training this week after undergoing a scan but has to see whether Houllier will hand him an instant recall or keep faith with the James Collins-Carlos Cuellar partnership.

Agbonlahor will undergo a minor groin operation on Monday and is expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks, while Emile Heskey will be looking to score for the third successive match after being revitalised since the arrival of Houllier.

Source: DSG