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Huge blow: Spurs without key duo vs Southampton

Spurs boss Antonio Conte has received a double injury setback ahead of their return to Premier League action this evening…

What’s the latest?

The north London outfit welcome Southampton to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but they will be without centre-back Eric Dier and central midfielder Oliver Skipp.

As relayed by The Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick on Twitter ahead of kick-off:

“Conte on team news vs Saints: “Eric Dier is not available. It’s the same for Skipp & [Japhet] Tanganga. The others are all available.” Conte hopes to have Skipp back in a week to 10 days & says Dier’s injury is “not serious” but is the same thigh that ruled him out last month.”

Do Spurs miss Dier and Skipp?

YES!

YES!

NO!

NO!

Huge blow

This is gutting news for both Conte and the Lilywhites faithful as the side will be without two key players for such a crucial encounter.

Spurs are firmly in the race for the top four and they could seriously bolster their chances of qualifying for a place in the Champions League with a victory this evening.

The Italian and his team sit just four points adrift of Manchester United, who currently occupy that final spot, and do so holding several games in hand, of which tonight is one.

Three points would put them in a very strong position heading into the rest of the month and the remainder of the season.

However, not having either of Dier or Skipp puts makes them a much weaker prospect as both players would be some of the first names on the teamsheet usually.

“Eric Dier can become one of the best players in the world in that position,” Conte said of the Englishman back in December.

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A truly wasted talent...

Indeed, the 28-year-old defender sits in the heart of Conte’s back three. He is the main ball-playing outlet from the back, where he averages 4.2 long balls per game – the most of any outfield player – and has an impressive 87% pass accuracy.

Skipp leads the squad for the latter metric (90.1%) and is a solid and reliable option in front of the defence, having also averaged 1.8 tackles and 0.7 interceptions per game, via WhoScored.

Conte is hugely keen to have the England U21 international back involved, which only goes to show how well thought of he is by the Premier League and FA Cup winner.

“I hope to have him back very soon. The medical department told me two weeks but I hope to have him available in one week/10 days maximum and for this reason I push the medical department because we’re talking about an important player for Tottenham Hotspur,” he told reporters (via football.london).

On the above evidence, the Italian will be gutted to not have either available as they welcome a Saints side who only held defending champions Manchester City to a draw before the winter break.

AND in other news, Conte must unleash “explosive” £27m-rated Spurs “monster” today, he can terrify Saints

Article title: Huge blow: Spurs without key duo vs Southampton

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