Tottenham will look to bounce back from their European thrashing by Real Madrid when they welcome Stoke to White Hart Lane on Saturday.Harry Redknapp’s men are without a win in the English Premier League since their 2-1 triumph over Sunderland on February 12, as the rigours of a season that has exceeded expectations begin to take their toll.
On Tuesday, Redknapp’s men were hampered by the early dismissal of striker Peter Crouch for two bookable offences en route to a 4-0 loss at the Bernabeu in their Champions League quarter-final first leg.
But the fact the Londoners even made it to the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition is testament to how far they have come as a squad this term.
The problem facing Redknapp now is that, having tasted the latter stages of the Champions League once, they will want to do so again, but are sitting five points short of fourth-placed Chelsea, who occupy the last qualifying place.
The objective for Tony Pulis’ Stoke side is less glamorous – with seven games remaining they are looking to put as much breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone as possible.
Stoke are in 11th place in the table, but only six points clear of the drop zone in a tightly packed bottom half of the table.
The Potters enter the game on the back of some solid form, with two wins from their past three matches and a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in their most recent start.
They have also made it to the last four of the FA Cup, meeting Bolton in a Wembley semi-final on April 17.
Both managers have worrying news from the treatment room ahead of the clash, with Redknapp being particularly hard hit at the back.
Alan Hutton joins Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate on the sidelines, with Younes Kaboul and Wilson Palacios are also under injury clouds, while Steven Pienaar is nursing a groin strain.
Pulis will be without defender Danny Higginbotham, who ruptured his cruciate ligament in the draw with Chelsea and faces six months on the sidelines.
Also missing will be long-term casualty Mamady Sidibe, who is out for the season with an Achilles injury, and striker John Carew is in doubt with a back problem.
Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen is also hampered by a back injury, but Pulis could welcome back defender Abdoulaye Faye who is nearing a return from a hamstring problem.