Belfast Telegraph

Van der Vaart eyes derby return

Tottenham forward Rafael van der Vaart is confident he is winning his race to be fit for this weekend's north London derby at Arsenal.

Van der Vaart has missed Spurs' last three games since hobbling off with a calf injury during the 3-1 win over Wigan last month. The Dutchman, who has scored nine goals for his club this season, will return to full training on Wednesday, however, and hopes to be involved in Sunday's Barclays Premier League game at the Emirates Stadium.

Van der Vaart told his official website: "I'm recovering well from my injury. I expect to be joining the team training next Wednesday after which I will start to focus on the match against Arsenal. I'll be happy to play Arsenal. I can't wait."

Spurs already have a number of injury worries ahead of the clash.

Emmanuel Adebayor twisted his knee in training but is hopeful of making the return to his former club while Benoit Assou-Ekotto underwent a groin operation last week and is a major doubt for the match.

Adebayor wrote on Twitter: "Just finished training, really happy with the progress, knee is looking much better. Working on my fitness for Sunday."

Luka Modric missed last weekend's 0-0 draw at Stevenage due to illness, but he is expected to recover in time for the trip across north London.

Tottenham missed their injured stars as they laboured to a draw in their FA Cup fifth-round tie at the Lamex Stadium on Sunday, but Van der Vaart is backing the club to overcome the npower League One side in the replay.

He added: "Of course it's a pity we didn't win. I'm convinced we will be able to defeat Stevenage in our home game and will reach the next round of the FA Cup."


From Belfast Telegraph