Dembele and Townsend available for Spurs against Stoke after unexplained absence

Mousa Dembele

The two midfielders weren't in the match day squad for the game with Manchester City last weekend, but are back for the visit to Stoke.

Moussa Dembele and Andros Townsend are available for Tottenham's match with Stoke City this weekend, and will be eager to play a part in the club's last three games of the season.

The two players were surprisingly absent from the Tottenham team for the last Premier League match against Manchester City, despite being on the bench against Southampton and in previous fixtures. There had been no information given out ahead of the Citizens' visit that Dembele and Townsend were carrying knocks, so it was a little bit of a surprise when there was no sign of them.

Conspiracy theorists among fans had suggested their disappearance from the Spurs squad was a sign the duo are expendable come the summer, but in reality, it was just the fact that the two players were carrying small injuries that kept them out of the defeat to the former champions. Mauricio Pochettino revealed in his press conference ahead of the Stoke trip that Dembele had been carrying a thigh problem and Townsend had a foot issue.

Dembele has had to settle for a smaller role in the team this season due to the emergence of Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb. It is strange considering the Belgian was involved in many of Tottenham's best results this season.

He hasn't started a game since the 2-2 draw with West Ham in February, and has earned few minutes from the bench in the subsequent fixtures. However, against the Saints a fortnight ago, he made some promising touches in his seven minutes on the pitch at the end of the game, reminding spectators that he offers something very different to Mason with his ball carrying skills.

Townsend has failed to build on his goal in England's draw with Italy in March, and hasn't featured since the defeat to Aston Villa. In his absence, Erik Lamela has upped his displays.

Whether either player will be involved at the Britannia on Saturday remains to be seen, but if neither get any game time between now and the end of the season, those departure rumours are only going to get stronger.

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch