Harry Redknapp is hopeful that Gareth Bale will be fit for next Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid, although the Tottenham Hotspur manager is facing up to the prospect of taking on one of the most feared attacks in world football with just two fit central defenders.
Bale withdrew from the Welsh squad to face England last Saturday with a hamstring strain, and is now a major doubt for the club’s next two matches.
The Welshman, who has played a big part in guiding Tottenham to the quarter-finals, had only just recovered from a back injury before picking up his latest knock, and Redknapp plans to leave a decision on whether his star winger will play until the last minute.
“Gareth worked with the fitness coaches and he looked OK this morning,” Redknapp said. “Whether he is OK to play two games this weekend is doubtful. We will have a look at that tomorrow and decide which way to go with it. We are going to leave it late. We’d love to have him fit but if he isn’t fit then we can’t play him.”
The Spurs manager is confident that his side will be able to give Real a good match in Spain even if Bale does not play. “We have other good players here who can play on the left,” Redknapp said. “Niko Kranjcar has just gone off and had a couple of games for Croatia. Steven Pienaar is fit now too.”
There was better news for the club with regard to Aaron Lennon’s fitness. The winger pulled out of England’s friendly against Ghana with a hamstring injury but Tottenham are confident that he will be fit for Saturday’s game at the DW Stadium.
“Aaron is OK. He trained this morning. There isn’t any problem with him,” Redknapp said. “He met up with England and stayed with them for 10 days, felt his hamstring was tight and we didn’t want to risk him going so he pulled out of the squad.”
Redknapp also revealed that the club captain, Ledley King, requires a second operation on the groin problem that has kept him out of action since October, while William Gallas suffered a knee injury that could rule him out of Tuesday’s game at the Bernabéu. With Younes Kaboul out with a thigh strain and Jonathan Woodgate sidelined by a calf injury, Redknapp has only Michael Dawson and Sébastien Bassong fit to play at Wigan this weekend.
Ahead of one of the biggest matches in the club’s recent history, against a Real Madrid team consisting of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, Redknapp admits his defensive troubles are a big concern to him.
“We started the year with six central defenders here. Now we have two,” Redknapp told Sky Sports News. “We have lost Ledley King, it looks like he will have to have an operation that will finish his season.
“Jonathan Woodgate was making good progress but got a calf injury in a friendly against Barnet and Younes Kaboul is still out with a thigh strain. William Gallas has been for a scan on his knee today. He struggled at the weekend and we are now down to having just Michael Dawson and Sébastien Bassong.”