Norwich City tormentor Mousa Dembele unlikely to figure for Tottenham Hotspur
The man who has proven a thorn in Norwich City's side on two occasions this season looks set to miss a third opportunity to torment the Canaries defence.
Mousa Dembele, chief architect of Fulham's 5-0 win over City in manager Chris Hughton's first senior game in charge and scorer of Spurs' goal against City just a fortnight later, is a major doubt for tonight's Capital One Connect Cup last-16 tie at Carrow Road.
Dembele, who moved across London just before the summer transfer window closed, missed the Premier League win over Southampton with a hip problem. Spurs' boss Andre Villas-Boas also has concerns over striker Emmanuel Adebayor, another weekend absentee with a back problem.
Tottenham assistant manager Steffen Freund revealed that Adebayor is now also suffering from a stomach bug to compound matters.
He said: 'Mousa Dembele is injured. Adebayor came in sick today and we need to see how he is.
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'I can't say at the moment which team will travel but it will be a strong one.'
Changes to both line-ups are almost inevitable, but there were few clues from City's Under-21s squad for the game against Bolton – with not a single senior player involved. Midfielder Jacob Butterfield and defender Steven Whittaker have used the Under-21s as a route back to match fitness – and with Russell Martin doubtful because of a back injury which forced him to miss the second half of the 1-1 draw at Aston Villa on Saturday, the timing could be spot on for Whittaker to make his senior debut.
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Hughton has said he will freshen up his side, having fielded the same starting XI after naming an unchanged line-up for their last two matches. As well as Butterfield and Whittaker, there are a clutch of players who will be hoping to figure, including the likes of Andrew Surman, David Fox and Chris Martin, plus the unused weekend substitutes, goalkeeper Declan Rudd – who played in the second round win over Scunthorpe – Jonny Howson, Simeon Jackson and Leon Barnett.
Villas-Boas is also likely to ring the changes as this is Tottenham's fourth game in 12 days. Hugo Lloris is expected to play in goal, while Michael Dawson and Gylfi Sigurdsson should also start.