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Stuart Dalgleish 5th Mar 2010 - 17:05

Fulham to take advantage of injury-hit Spurs

Harry Redknapp knows what it takes to win the FA Cup having lifted the oldest cup in the world just two years ago while in charge of Portsmouth, however it looks a tall order for him to repeat that success this year.

Tottenham (11/8) have always had great strength in depth, and that squad will be tested to the full this weekend as they look like being without a whole host of top players for their trip to Craven Cottage where Fulham (2/1, the draw is 9/4) await for a place in the semi-finals.

The midfield is decimated with in-form David Bentley ruled out with a hip problem, Jermaine Jenas and Aaron Lennon both have groin injuries while midfield powerhouse Tom Huddlestone has ankle ligament damage.

At the back, regular treatment-table dwellers Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate won't feature and Carlo Cudicini is still a long-term absentee.

The biggest loss though could be 22-goal hitman Jermain Defoe (9/2 to strike first should he prove his fitness), the striker is struggling with a tight hamstring that was aggravated during international duty on Wednesday night, with Robbie Keane loaned out to Celtic and Eidur Gudjohnsen (15/2 first goal) yet to complete 90 minutes since arriving from Monaco on loan it leaves Redknapp with a selection headache as to who will start upfront.

Roman Pavlyuchenko (11/2 first goal) is really on song at the minute, having barely featured in the first half of the season. The big Russian has bagged six in his last four games and would be hugely disappointed to not feature at the Cottage, likewise Tottenham's other giant striker Peter Crouch (6/1 to notch first) will be expecting a place in the starting XI after his midweek double for England, but he hasn't scored in seven matches domestically, can Redknapp play both from the start?

Another two players who don't often start together are Niko Kranjcar (9/1 first goal) and Luka Modric (10/1), the Croatian duo might have to both be on from the kick-off on Saturday though with Tottenham's midfield problems, but it didn't do them any harm during the week as Modric teed up Kranjcar to slam the ball in from 30 yards in their win over Belgium in Brussels.

Fulham too had quite a sizeable amount of players on international duty during the week but don't have the amount of injury worries that Tottenham do, Roy Hodgson just has three players definitely missing, the long-term injured trio of John Pantsil, Clint Dempsey and Andrew Johnson.

It hasn't really affected the Cottagers though as Hodgson has recently been awarded Manager of the Month and his goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has won Player of the Month, it's just rewards for a fine run of eight matches unbeaten in which the Aussie has conceded just three goals.

The month of February also saw Fulham reach the last 16 of the Europa League where they will take on Italian giants Juventus after a superb effort in dispatching of holders Shakhtar Donetsk, with another top half finish in the Premier League looking likely it's turning into a really memorable season for Hodgson's team.

Fatigue could catch up with them, and of course there's the famous 'Manager of the Month curse' but I think they can really take advantage of what will be their best chance of silverware in years.

If Tottenham were at full strength then it would be a different scenario for Fulham, but with people likely to be playing out of position the home team should have more than enough nous to expose these weaknesses and see off the top four contenders.

The battle in the middle of the park is vital for this game though; the hosts will give a late fitness test to Danny Murphy (12/1 first goal), and should the former England international pass it he will orchestrate Fulham's passing game and look to get the likes of Zoltan Gera (8/1) and Damien Duff (10/1) into good areas to set-up chances for World Cup hopeful Bobby Zamora (6/1).

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