Tottenham's Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier could miss Middlesbrough clash
Published 23/09/2016 | 10:26
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is sweating on the fitness of both Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier ahead of Saturday's trip to Middlesbrough.
Dier and Dembele were taken off with hamstring problems against Sunderland last weekend and then rested on Wednesday as Spurs thrashed Gillingham 5-0 in the EFL Cup.
Pochettino says he will make a late decision on his first-choice midfield pairing and may not risk them, with a crunch Champions League clash against Moscow to come on Tuesday.
"It is a little bit more than cramp," Pochettino said.
"It was a very small issue. They are running, working, nearly at the same level as the other players.
"Now I need to decide whether to take a risk or to wait for the Champions League in Moscow or against Manchester City."
Danny Rose will also be assessed as he nears recovery from a hamstring injury but it is likely the left-back will also be saved for the trip to Russia.
On the opposite side of defence, right-back Kyle Walker became the latest Tottenham player to sign a new contract on Friday.
Walker's deal will run until 2021 and he joins Rose, Dier, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Tom Carroll in extending his commitment to the club this month.
"Always it's important for the club. It's very important for the players too," Pochettino said.
"They show a big commitment with the club and that's very important for the future. I am happy they show commitment with us."
Pochettino revealed another player is close to signing a new deal, with Jan Vertonghen and Erik Lamela both in talks.
"I promise you, in the next few days there will appear another player (signing a new contract) in the media," Pochettino said.
Winks and Carroll both started against Gillingham in midweek, along with fellow academy products Joshua Onomah and Cameron Carter-Vickers, while Anton Walkes and Marcus Edwards were brought on off the bench.
Pochettino has an excellent record for developing young talent and admits he would love to field a whole team of home-grown players in the future.
"It would be difficult to happen but why not? It can happen," Pochettino said.
"Barcelona nearly had a whole squad of players coming through the academy. It is not an easy job but this would be a dream for every club."
Harry Kane's ankle still remains too swollen to draw any accurate conclusion about the striker's return but he will have a second scan next week.
It means Vincent Janssen is expected to make his second Premier League start up front, fresh from scoring his first Spurs goal in midweek.
"Always a striker needs to feel confidence and feel the net," Pochettino said. "It was a good opportunity for him to score his first official goal with us.
"We will see tomorrow. It is a great opportunity to start from the beginning maybe and help the team."