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AVB's praying Dembele won't need operation

TOTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas hopes midfielder Mousa Dembele does not need hip surgery that would rule him out for six weeks.

Dembele quickly became a fans' favourite at White Hart Lane following his deadline day move from Fulham, but Tottenham have had to do without the playmaker for the last four games after he aggravated a hip injury while on international duty with Belgium.

The 25-year-old struggled with the problem while at Fulham, and initial scans on the area failed to detect whether he had seriously aggravated the injury while playing against Scotland.

The worst case scenario for Villas-Boas is that he will be without the player for six weeks, but the Tottenham boss is confident that will not be the case.

"We want to avoid surgery if we can," Villas-Boas said. "If there happens to be surgery I think we are looking for one month, one month and a half.

"Hopefully that will not happen because we have some good indications the player will be back in one week or two weeks.

"It's a pain that goes away or happened to go away when he was at Fulham for two or three days and the pain went away but it is still there. He can't move himself properly so he will have a deeper scan on the injury so we can assess it properly."

Although Tottenham have moved up to fourth in the Premier League despite Dembele's absence, Villas-Boas could do with the former AZ Alkmaar man back soon as he faces up to a tough run of matches following Saturday's home game against Wigan.

Spurs failed to follow up their win over Southampton with another victory on Wednesday when they were knocked out of the League Cup by Norwich.


Meanwhile, Emmanuel Adebayor could be available for Saturday's game after making a steady recovery from injury and illness.

The Togo striker is reported to have become frustrated at his lack of game time this season, but Villas-Boas says the player must be patient, given the excellent form of Jermain Defoe this term.

He said: "Whenever he came on he did well. He wants to be part of the team, but Defoe is doing well.

"He has eight goals in five games and that is the goalscoring ability you want for your team."