Sunday 25 March 2018

Kane injury boost lifts Tottenham ahead of mission to Moscow

Harry Kane will hopefully be fit for the north London derby on November 6
Harry Kane will hopefully be fit for the north London derby on November 6

Matt Law

Travel to Russia is rarely straightforward, and Tottenham arrived in Moscow with five key players missing, a warning for their supporters not to wear club colours and in desperate need of a Champions League victory.

CSKA Moscow v Tottenham: Live, BT Sport 3, 7.45pm

But Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino did at least receive good news from England after landing in Moscow, with Harry Kane's latest scan providing hope that the striker could be fit in time to face Arsenal on November 6.

Kane and Danny Rose were not expected to be fit for this Group E fixture against CSKA, and the pair will watch the game back in England with midfielders Eric Dier, Mousa Dembele and Moussa Sissoko, who have all missed out.

Dier and Dembele have failed to get over the hamstring injuries they suffered against Sunderland nine days ago, while Sissoko was forced off with a head injury against Middlesbrough at the weekend and cannot be risked because of concussion.

"They are okay, but we don't want to take a risk," said Pochettino. "We have a lot of games ahead, a difficult period and then the international break.

"Why take a risk when it's only one or two days after we played against Middlesbrough? It makes no sense.

"We have the squad to cope with being unlucky with injuries and it's a good opportunity for those who have not played too much. It's important for the squad to prove they are ready to play."

Kane was expected to be out for eight weeks and to miss the Arsenal clash after damaging his ankle ligaments against Sunderland, but a new scan has given Pochettino encouragement.

"It's much, much better than we expected and maybe we can reduce the time," said Pochettino. "We cannot give a time on how long it will be to recover, but we are happy because this scan was much better. It's difficult to say one, two, three weeks. But it is much better than we expected and very, very positive."

There will only be around 300 Tottenham supporters in Moscow, and those who have travelled have been instructed to remain inconspicuous.

This is the first meeting of English and Russian football fans since the trouble in France at the European Championships, which has prompted Spurs to tell their supporters not to wear club colours or carry flags and banners outside the stadium.

The Russian Fans' Union is not anticipating any large-scale violence, but the warnings and Tottenham's injury problems add up to what has become an increasingly intimidating trip.

Defeat by Monaco at Wembley means Spurs need a victory against CSKA, who are considered the weakest team in the group.

Tottenham do have a Champions League finalist in their ranks, as Toby Alderweireld was part of the Atletico Madrid squad that lost 4-1 after extra-time to rivals Real in 2014.

"Every team can win the Champions League if you put your mind to it," said Alderweireld. "If you have a good squad and the hunger is there, you can do it.

"At Atletico, we had the big teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich - they were always the favourites. But if you are a really good group and, of course, we had quality too, you can win it. That's the thing that has stayed with me."

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