AVB delighted to have Bale back
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas hopes Gareth Bale's return will help his side cement their position in the top four over the festive period.
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11. Gareth Bale
Bale is fit to face Stoke in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday after overcoming the hamstring injury that has ruled him out for the last three weeks.
The Welshman had looked in irresistible form prior to the injury, scoring nine goals and setting up several others thanks to his precise crossing and devastating pace.
Tottenham will move ahead of Chelsea into third if they beat Stoke and then have winnable fixtures against Aston Villa, Sunderland, Reading and QPR in a packed festive season.
And Villas-Boas is delighted to have Bale back as he knows the 23-year-old could prove decisive in the team's push for Champions League qualification.
"Yes, we have missed him. He is an important player for us. He can make the difference," Villas-Boas said. "You saw what he did against Liverpool (when Bale scored and set up Aaron Lennon in a 2-1 win). He was outstanding.
"Players like him can decide a game for you and for us it is a tremendous boost to have him back, no doubt."
Villas-Boas warned any potential suitors that Bale's return does not mean he will be available when the transfer window opens, however.
"Completely impossible," was his blunt answer when asked if Bale would be allowed to leave White Hart Lane next month.
January could turn out to be a key month for Villas-Boas off the pitch as well as on it.
Chairman Daniel Levy's love of delving into the transfer market is well known, and the club have been linked with a number of players including Christian Eriksen, Willian and Joao Moutinho.
But Villas-Boas said it was unlikely that he would be very active, preferring instead to concentrate on the potential impact that Scott Parker, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul could have after returning from long-term injuries.
"We have a big squad. Our boost will come from the return of the injured players which are Scotty, Benoit and Kaboul," the 35-year-old said.
"At the moment we are okay. We have a good squad, we have excellent players to count on. I won't say there won't be any addition but it will be up to me and the chairman to decide, although at the moment I think it's very premature to make that decision.
"If a good opportunity arises, as long as it strengthens us, then we will be looking for it, although we are looking pretty solid in every single position."
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Parker, who has not started under Villas-Boas due to an Achilles injury, and Assou-Ekotto, who has been missing for three months with a knee problem, are available for Saturday's game, although both are likely to be substitutes.
Michael Dawson is fit after recovering from a hamstring problem, but Emmanuel Adebayor is doubtful after suffering a kick to his ankle during last weekend's win over Swansea.
The former Arsenal striker was today left out of Togo's squad for their African Nations Cup warm-up game against Oman on December 29.
Adebayor is refusing to play at the tournament until he receives the bonuses he claims he is owed from previous internationals.
Togo head coach Didier Six vowed to persuade his captain to return, but Villas-Boas thinks Adebayor will stay in London come January.
Villas-Boas said: "At the moment the indication is that he's not going to be involved (in the African Nations Cup).
"We as a club are aware of the situation and if it's resolved it's something we have to respect."