Tottenham Hotspur begin their quest for glory in the FA Cup later this evening but standing in their way is a potential banana skin in the form of non-league minnows Marine.
Jose Mourinho will travel to the eighth-tier outfit with the bulk of his senior squad in order to avoid an embarrassing upset and according to reports, he will be able to call upon one of his biggest stars.
Ahead of the encounter, the Spurs boss told reporters that Gareth Bale had returned to training this week and also revealed that the Welsh winger had even requested to play, he said via football.london:
“He trained today first time with us so tomorrow second time and tomorrow after training we will make a decision and what I can say and it’s also a way to show you the way we are looking, the respect we have for this fixture, is that Gareth told me he would like to go and would like to play so if tomorrow if the feelings are positive, Gareth will come.”
The 31-year-old has been out for most of the festive period with a calf problem, so his return would be most-welcome and this outing presents a good opportunity for him to come straight back into the side.
Bale has been restricted to just 598 minutes since his sensation loan return from Real Madrid in the summer, but in that run, he has still managed to find the net three times despite mainly playing the cup competitions.
And that right-wing spot is certainly up for grabs as neither Steven Bergwijn nor Lucas Moura has truly impressed in the role in recent weeks.
In a match like this, the £18m-rated sensation could be their biggest game-changer.
Bale earns around £600k-per-week before tax at the La Liga giants, compared to the £100 to £300 a week contracts that most of the part-time Marine squad will be on.
Whilst we’ve yet to see the sort of quality that saw the 6 foot 1 star make a name for himself in north London, he does still have that undoubted quality that should be streets ahead of the opposition today.
In the past, he was dubbed a “cannonball” by rival boss Arsene Wenger as well as being “unbelievable” by former teammate Peter Crouch, as per the Guardian.
It’s time for the shackles to come off following this huge injury boost.