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Spurs struck by double injury blow ahead of crucial ties

By Tom Allnutt

Tottenham have been handed a double injury blow after Harry Kane was ruled out of tonight's Europa League clash against Fiorentina while Mousa Dembele is likely to miss the North London derby against Arsenal next month.

Kane broke his nose during the FA Cup defeat to Crystal Palace last weekend and will sit out the second leg against Fiorentina, but the striker is expected to return against Swansea on Sunday.

It will be the first time this season Kane has not been named either in the starting line-up or on the bench for a Spurs fixture.

Dembele's injury, however, is more serious. The midfielder came off at half-time against Palace with a groin injury and is now set to be out for between 10 days and two weeks.

It means the Belgian, a key player in Tottenham's title charge, will miss Fiorentina and is also facing a race against time to be fit to play Arsenal, who visit White Hart Lane in the league a week on Saturday.

"Harry Kane will be available for Sunday," Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said. "We expect and hope he will be available. Today he wasn't here because he is seeing a specialist about his nose."

On Dembele, Pochettino added: "On Mousa we expect maybe longer than Harry. Maybe 10 days, two weeks.

"It is not a big issue. A small injury but in this period we have a lot of games ahead so it arrives in a bad moment."

Tottenham have the slight upper hand against Fiorentina, having taken an away goal from their 1-1 draw in Italy last week.

The match kicks off a tough run of fixtures for Spurs, who face West Ham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United over the next six weeks. The defeat to Palace ended Tottenham's eight-match unbeaten run, which included seven consecutive victories, and Pochettino admits his side face a crucial juncture in maintaining their momentum.

"We are in a key period. The period ahead is very important for us, it is a period where we play a lot of important games," Pochettino said.

"The loss to Palace has not affected the group. We played better than Crystal Palace and we need to keep our motivation because we have important games coming up."

Fiorentina may afford Dele Alli some extra attention at White Hart Lane after the midfielder appeared to drag his foot over Nenad Tomovic during last week's first leg.

"We had a chat and it was very good," Pochettino said. "He is a very nice guy and a very good person but is very competitive on the pitch.

"He showed very good maturity against Crystal Palace, he was calm and played well. That showed his character and he improved his behaviour on the pitch."

Europa League: White Hart Lane, Agg 1-1 (8.05pm)



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