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Bale blow as Spurs make final attempt at top-four place

Tottenham's flickering hopes of Champions League qualification took a blow yesterday with the confirmation that Gareth Bale will miss the rest of the season after suffering a ruptured ankle ligament during Saturday's 1-1 draw against Blackpool.

Bale came off in the second half of the draw at White Hart Lane after a robust challenge from Charlie Adam, which meant the Welshman had to leave the ground on crutches.

The club confirmed yesterday afternoon that the PFA Player of the Year will wear a protective boot for the next 12 days before starting a rehabilitation regime.

The injury rules Bale out of Wales’ Carling Nations Cup clash with Northern Ireland on Friday May 27.

Despite the seriousness of the injury, he is expected to be fit for the start of pre-season training at the start of July. It brings a premature end to a fascinating season for the former Southampton man.

Bale's pace and penetration will be hugely missed by the Londoners, who need to win all three of their remaining games against Manchester City, Liverpool and Birmingham to have any chance of bringing Champions League football back to White Hart Lane.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was under no illusions as to how difficult the fight to close the six-point gap that separates his team and City would be, even before Bale's injury.

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“It will take a miracle,” said Redknapp, who knows anything but a win at Eastlands tonight will mean the end of the club's top-four hopes. (City manager) Roberto Mancini has got a fantastic squad. They're in a great position. They are six points ahead of us and they have a better goal difference by miles.”

Bale (pictured) has been forced to miss nine of Tottenham's games in the second part of the season due to back and hamstring problems.

His absence has coincided with the club's slump in form, but Redknapp is confident his squad will be able to cope without him.

“It's a blow but we have been without Gareth quite a bit recently,” Redknapp added. “He has had a fantastic season. The first three-quarters of the season he was unplayable, but over the last couple of months the injury situation has taken its toll on him. During that time he hasn't quite been the same boy.”

Tottenham are in the midst of their worst run of the season, with just one win coming from their last nine Barclays Premier League matches.

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