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Bale bright spot in Spurs injury crisis

There was mixed news yesterday for Tottenham ahead of their Champions League date with Real Madrid tomorrow.

Gareth Bale should overcome a hamstring problem to play, but Alan Hutton will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury that requires surgery.

And, with three other centre-backs already ruled out, manager Harry Redknapp has conceded that there is little chance of William Gallas recovering from a knee problem in time to feature at the Bernabeu.

"William is struggling," said Redknapp. "Unless there is a big improvement, he has no chance.

"I think Gareth should be fit. He trained to about 80pc on Friday."

As they prepare to head for the biggest stage, Tottenham may be about to discover that the Champions League really is all about taking part. Spurs broke the monopoly of the 'big four' on the Champions League spots, but qualification must be repeated year on year to ensure financial reward.

Their prospects of repeating this season's adventure diminished further with only a point from their game at the DW Stadium, which followed a defeat by Blackpool and draws with Wolves and West Ham.

Had it not been for an excellent performance from Michael Dawson, they might not even have picked up a point. The England defender says that focusing on the grind of the Premier League is far more important than thinking about Madrid.

"We look forward to these great European nights, but our main priority has to be the Premier League and we've slipped up in recent weeks," Dawson said.

"We have to get back to winning ways in the league.

"Real Madrid and these sort of nights at the Bernabeu are reward for what we did last year in the league, so we need to start picking up three points again if we want them again next season."

Wigan will rue the missed opportunity, as they are bottom of the table with seven games left.

"If we could stay up this season, we'll get the rewards long term," said manager Roberto Martinez.

"With very promising players in their peak years with us, it would really take us to a different level." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent