Mauricio Pochettino may be making an emotional return to Southampton on Saturday but he will want to ensure his Tottenham Hotspur side return to winning ways after a disappointing last few games in the Premier League.
Spurs will know that they can ill-afford to slip up any further if they are to achieve a top-four finish, with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea all breathing down their necks following a three-game winless run in the top-flight.
Southampton could pose a tricky encounter for the north London outfit, who will have been buoyed by the news that they will be able to finally make use of their new stadium before the end of the season, as they are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table and have put in some solid performances of their own recently.
However, despite Pochettino set to sit in the stands for the next two games following his touchline ban, it appears Tottenham may have been handed a timely boost.
What’s the News?
According to the club’s official website, Dele Alli is in contention to make a return to the side after spending the last six weeks or so on the sidelines with a hamstring injury following the win against Fulham on 20 January.
However, Harry Winks remains doubtful with a groin issue he picked up in their Champions League win against Borussia Dortmund in midweek, whilst Kieran Trippier remains out of action as he undergoes treatment for a muscle strain.
The game against Southampton may not have come at a more important time for Tottenham and Pochettino as their domestic form certainly appears to have taken a dip in recent weeks and it is something they can not afford to happen any longer, although the update surrounding their new stadium may spur them on.
As mentioned, a number of clubs are on their tail at the moment in their own efforts to secure a top-four finish and a defeat on the south coast could see Spurs slip to fourth on Sunday with Manchester United just three points behind, with Arsenal and Chelsea just slightly further behind (whilst the latter of the pair have a game in hand as well).
Whether Pochettino’s touchline ban will play a role in the game will have to remain to be seen, however, Tottenham should have enough about them to record a victory against the Saints but they will know they can not take anything for granted in the Premier League (just look at Burnley).
Alli’s return will come at a welcomed time as the England international’s ability has been missed in recent weeks and the club appears to have struggled to create and take some of the chances they make in games that a player of his quality can finish.
Winks being a doubt does not help matters as he has been excellent in the middle of the field, although the likes of Eric Dier or a former Southampton man in Victor Wanyama are more than capable of providing cover in the 23-year-old’s potential absence.
Tottenham fans, how much of a boost is it to have Alli available for the game against Southampton on Saturday? Join in with the discussion below by sharing your thoughts with us.