Tottenham Hotspur will continue their UEFA Europa Conference League campaign later this evening when they welcome Pacos de Ferreira to north London for the second and final leg of their qualifying fixture.
It’s an encounter that Nuno Santo should not be taking lightly after his side were beaten 1-0 in Portugal last week but the 47-year-old head coach will also know that a balance must be struck between winning the match and handing out further minutes to players in need of game time.
If the Lilywhites fail to advance tonight, then it’ll be the first time in 12 years that they have failed to qualify for one of the major European cup competitions.
After keeping their 100% start in the Premier League with a win over Nuno’s former club Wolves on Sunday, Spurs should be confident of securing the victory this evening.
But what sort of side could we see line-up at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium? Here’s what Football FanCast are predicting…
One of the biggest calls could lie in the attack. This match could be the perfect time to hand Harry Kane to build match fitness, so he could start from the off – just days after confirming his intention to remain at the club this summer transfer window.
Meanwhile, at the back, Pierluigi Gollini should make his second start between the sticks as Hugo Lloris’ back-up, whilst we could see a back four of Ben Davies, who replaces Sergio Reguilon, Eric Dier, who remains from Sunday’s starting XI, Cristian Romero, who takes Davinson Sanchez’s place and Matt Doherty, who comes in for Japhet Tanganga.
Welshman Joe Rodon and academy product Cameron Carter-Vickers will be absent through injury.
Another player who could keep his place tonight is Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – the man who played more minutes than any other Spurs player last season. The £36m-rated beast’s endurance and quality is a must for this Spurs side but he may be joined by Harry Winks and Giovani Lo Celso instead.
The duo started in Portugal last week and their involvement would keep both Oliver Skipp and Dele Alli fresh for this weekend’s top-flight clash against Watford.
There are some huge decisions to make on the flanks, however.
Nuno could opt for Bryan Gil, who made his debut in Portugal last week, and Lucas Moura, who is the third player to have started at Molineux. Steven Bergwijn has underperformed and the young Spanish gem needs to find his best position in this side, so it’s a switch that makes sense.
In total, the Portuguese head coach could make as many as eight changes.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Gollini; Davies, Dier, Romero, Doherty; Hojbjerg, Winks, Lo Celso; Gil, Moura, Kane.