Tottenham's European hopes boosted by Jermain Defoe's return to training
Defoe had pencilled in his return for Sunday, at home against Newcastle, and though that seems an over-optimistic target, the striker is not far away. Instead, the 26-year-old England international, who required surgery on the stress fracture to his right foot, could be in contention for the trip to Manchester United the following week. "It's a big boost for us," said Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager. "He was talking to the lads earlier and told them he couldn't sleep the night before because he was so excited about returning to training. "He was up very early, just like a kid at his first day at school. "He's full of enthusiasm and he trained superbly, he looked really sharp, scored some fantastic goals." Defoe's return and that of Alan Hutton will improve Tottenham's chances of winning seventh spot and a place in next season's Europa League. "He's back and that's a big bonus for us," added Redknapp. "I'm sure there are a few goals left in him before the end of the season." Meanwhile, Roman Pavlyuchenko has moved to dismiss reports linking the striker with a move back to Russia. Pavlyuchenko scored Tottenham's winner against West Ham at the weekend after replacing Darren Bent as a second half substitute. "When you are on the bench for five games in a row, when the press are getting to you, to come off the bench and score straight away is incredibly important," he said.
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