Spurs V Hull at White Hart Lane : Match Preview
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AVB prepares to face Spurs fans
Andre Villas-Boas will gauge how his criticism of Tottenham fans has gone down on Wednesday when Hull return to White Hart Lane in the Capital One Cup.
The Tottenham manager criticised Spurs fans for not getting behind their players during the 1-0 win over Hull in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday.
Villas-Boas said both he and the players were unhappy about the "negative" atmosphere which he thinks made it feel like Spurs were the away team at White Hart Lane.
Reaction to Villas-Boas' outburst in internet forums so far has been mixed. Some supporters claim Spurs need to start playing more attractive football if they are to get more vocal backing at White Hart Lane, while others agree with the manager and have called on the fans to increase the volume for the fourth round game, which is close to a sell-out.
One way Villas-Boas can appease the disgruntled fans is by taking the team on a run in the cup competitions.
The 35-year-old put a lot of emphasis on trying to win the Europa League last season and, as a result, his team suffered an early exit to Leeds in the FA Cup and a fourth-round knockout in the Capital One Cup by Norwich.
But with over B#100million invested in seven new signings this summer, the Portuguese believes it could be a very different story for Spurs in the cups this season.
"We will introduce changes but the difference this season is that we have the quality available to throw in a very good team," the Tottenham manager said.
"We will definitely do lots of changes because the schedule has been quite tight. We will have played Thursday, Sunday and Wednesday.
"We want to continue to do well and we have a responsibility at home to go through.
"We have the team to do it, so naturally the changes will happen."
Erik Lamela has struggled to impress since his B#30million move from Roma, but he will get another chance to make an impression on Wednesday with a rare start.
Gylfi Sigurdsson and Nacer Chadli are expected to get a run out while Brad Friedel is likely to replace Hugo Lloris in goal.
Villas-Boas also has a selection dilemma up front. Jermain Defoe has scored eight goals in the cup competitions this term, but Roberto Soldado is short of goals from open play and could start alongside the England international if Villas-Boas decides to ditch the 4-2-3-1 formation he has deployed all season.
Another intriguing idea would be starting with Emmanuel Adebayor alongside Defoe.
With injuries mounting at Hull manager Steve Bruce may view the clash as an unwanted distraction, but son Alex sees another chance for the squad to show its depth.
With Barclays Premier League survival the clear priority this year, Bruce has so far used the cup as a chance to rest and rotate, while still progressing to the fourth round.
He would like to do so again against Spurs but is struggling with thin resources and his starting XI may be determined partially by who is fit and available.
The Tigers have suffered a series of setbacks of late, with club captain Robert Koren and James Chester having already missed several weeks and the likes of goalkeeper Allan McGregor, Danny Graham, Sone Aluko and Abdoulaye Faye all being ruled out ahead of the Tottenham double header.
Alex Bruce was one beneficiary of the withdrawals, making his first league appearance of the season at the weekend, having previously been confined to the cup side.
He was joined by the likes of Paul McShane and David Meyler in the starting XI, while peripheral players Aaron McLean and Nick Proschwitz were used from the bench.
All five look set to be utilised against Spurs for a second time and for defender Bruce it is a chance to prove they can play their part this season.
"It's a squad game nowadays, you can't rely on 11 players in a season or you're going to be struggling. There's going to be injuries," he said.
"You need to utilise the squad because you can't play the same 11 week in, week out.
"You've got to have a strong 18 or 22 players who, when called upon, have got to do a job. I think the lads who came in (on Sunday) did that."
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