AVB expecting Caulker appeal
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas expects the Football Association to appeal against the two-match ban handed to Steven Caulker.
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Caulker will miss the England Under-21 team's Euro 2013 games against Italy and Norway after UEFA found him guilty of improper conduct for his actions during a post-match brawl against Serbia in October.
European football's governing body have been criticised for banning Caulker and his team-mate Thomas Ince, and for fining the Serbian FA £65,000 - some £15,000 less than was handed out to Nicklas Bendtner for revealing a sponsor's logo on his underpants during Euro 2012.
The Tottenham manager concedes that his defender is extremely unhappy with UEFA's action against him.
"I spoke to the player and he is obviously very disappointed," Villas-Boas told a press conference.
"It is difficult to take after (what) I heard from my players - from Danny [Rose], from Steven, from Adam Smith - from the situation they went through to see that the outcome is this one.
"I imagine the FA will appeal. I think they are entitled to do it. They have shown disappointment with the decision and I think they are going to take it forward in various different ways which I think should include trying to put right what is wrong in Steven's sanction."
Villas-Boas has included Caulker in his squad for Sunday's home game against Swansea.
The Spurs boss revealed good news from the treatment room today, declaring that Gareth Bale, Michael Dawson, Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto all have a chance of playing against the Welshman.
Bale has been absent since suffering a hamstring injury against Fulham two weeks ago.
In that match the winger earned his fourth yellow card of the calendar year for simulation.
Villas-Boas reckons the Welshman's tag as a diver is unfair, and he said as much to referee Andre Marriner when he visited the club's training ground last Tuesday in a pre-planned visit.
"We received the visit of the referee this past week," Villas-Boas said.
"Gareth and I spoke with the referee about this situation.
"Gareth has gone through a difficult time in his career. He has had potentially-career threatening injuries and sometimes for the pace that he goes at it looks like a dive from the player when he is actually protecting himself.
"It's a tag that if he has gained it is unfair. But it doesn't bother him in any way shape or form."
Villas-Boas may decide to start Bale on the bench given the busy festive period is around the corner, while Assou-Ekotto and Parker also look set to be named as substitutes.
Parker, last term's Tottenham player of the season, has not played for Spurs in this campaign due to an Achilles injury he suffered at Euro 2012 and Assou-Ekotto has been sidelined since September with a knee injury.
"Both of them are making good progress with the team," Villas-Boas said.
"Scott I think is slightly ahead of Benoit at the moment, but both of them could be involved, or not.
"You have to bear in mind that their absence was long so they are picking up on their fitness levels."
Villas-Boas admits Parker's leadership skills will come in useful, particularly as Tottenham have been prone to conceding crucial late goals throughout the season.
It is hard to see where Villas-Boas will fit Parker into his team given the excellent form of Sandro and Mousa Dembele, but the Portuguese is happy to have the England midfielder back.
"He's been out for so long and he's such an important player for us," the 35-year-old said.
"He was amazing last season, so we've been really patient with the situation.
"We're glad to have him back, it was wonderful to see him out there on the (training) pitch.
"He offers other possibilities. It's good to have him on our side and good to finally count on him."