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Cowan eyes spurs scalp

THERE was a time when a striker from Tallaght could bring the whole crowd at White Hart Lane to their feet and take the acclaim of 36,000 fans.

Of course, Robbie Keane's time at Tottenham has been and gone, but tonight another striker from the suburb of Tallaght, Don Cowan, wants to silence -- not satisfy -- the Spurs supporters by helping to end the run of Harry Redknapp's team in the FA Cup.

Cowan, a striker who learned his trade with Shamrock Rovers and Longford Town before earning a surprise move to League One side Stevenage last summer, was today trying to win a race against time to prove his fitness for his club's big FA Cup day out in London, a replay which was needed after Stevenage held Spurs to a draw last month.

The 22-year-old played as a sub in the 0-0 draw at home to Spurs, but has missed the last three games due to a hamstring injury, and is facing a struggle to regain fitness for the big trip to White Hart Lane.

Stevenage will show their ambition by bringing up to 7,000 fans to Spurs for the game but, for Cowan and the players, it's not just a day out in central London but a chance for them to show what they can do, as Cowan knows that some of his fellow Irishmen have already shown the way.

"Shamrock Rovers went to play Spurs in the Europa League a few months back and, though Spurs won the game, Rovers took the lead and it was a nervous time for Spurs when Rovers were in front," says Cowan, who made seven league appearances over two seasons with Rovers before moving to Longford, initially on loan, in 2010.

"Seeing Rovers score away to Spurs has given me hope that we can at least score and maybe win the tie because I know we are good enough to win there. If we score first we will win the tie, I am confident of that because of the way we play.


"I think we were the better side in the drawn game at our ground last month. We had a few chances to win the tie so we won't have any reason to fear Spurs, even though they are a very good side."

Cowan admits that it would be his dream to follow in the footsteps of fellow Talllaght export Keane by scoring at White Hart Lane, but his hamstring injury makes him a doubt.

"I trained for the last two days but it's still not 100pc right and if I take a chance on playing tonight I might make it worse," Cowan admits.

"I'd love to play at a place like White Hart Lane but I can't risk being out for the rest of the season.

"The manager says he'd love to have me for this game as I'm an explosive type of player and that's what you need in a Cup game like this."

But other prizes could end up in his lap as Stevenage are still in with a chance of making the promotion play-offs in League One.

"Getting into the Championship is a real aim for us," he says. "But see how we get on against Spurs first, I think we can surprise a few people.

"I am really enjoying it here at Stevenage, I've learned a lot and I'm thankful to people who helped me along the way, like Tony Cousins at Longford."