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Fitness key to title - Harry

HARRY Redknapp accepts keeping his players fresh during the second half of the season will be vital to Tottenham's chances of keeping their title hopes alive.

Spurs missed an opportunity to keep themselves in touch with leaders Manchester City last week when they drew with rivals Chelsea 1-1 at White Hart Lane.

The game provided a worry for Redknapp with Rafael van der Vaart substituted at half-time due to a hamstring injury, but a subsequent scan revealed no serious damage.

Aaron Lennon looks set to miss the festive period with a similar problem, though, and Jermain Defoe, Younes Kaboul and Ledley King are also doubts for this evening's game against Norwich at Carrow Road.

Tottenham's injury troubles threaten to halt their recent good form and Redknapp admits his players' fitness is his biggest priority for the rest of the term.


"Managing the squad and keeping them happy is probably my toughest challenge. It's not easy," the veteran boss said.

"Younes Kaboul did his hamstring warming up on the sideline against Chelsea. You wonder what causes it.

"But you've got to try to keep your players fit now. You need a squad, you need to be able to change your squad around to keep some players fresh."

Tottenham will put the pressure back on both Manchester sides if they overcome Paul Lambert's outfit tonight.

The promoted Canaries have defied their critics this year, climbing in to the top half of the table thanks to their impressive home form.

Despite appearing to be well clear of danger, Redknapp has warned that a poor run of form could see Norwich, and fellow newboys Swansea, follow the path of Hull and Blackpool, who started well after being promoted before dipping dramatically in the second half of the season and slipping back to the Championship.

"Norwich have done fantastically. They have done really well and Swansea have as well," the 64-year-old said.

"But I'm sure they know that there have been lots of clubs come up and play very well (in the) first half of the season and they know they've got to continue that (in the) second half. It's going to be tight at the bottom."