Tottenham's return to full strength spells danger for Manchester City

Harry Redknapp has been boosted by the return of a full-strength Tottenham squad just in time for the most crucial stage of the campaign.

Tottenham's return to full strength spells danger for Manchester City That could be bad tidings for Manchester City, whom Redknapp identifies as the team most at risk of dropping out of the top four if Spurs climb higher than their current position of fifth.

Redknapp has seldom been able to field a full-strength side this season but, after taking advantage of a week with no matches to take his players to Dubai for some training in the sun, he now has cause to look on the bright side.

Gareth Bale, who has not played since injuring his back on 22 January, returns to full training on Saturday and may be rewarded with a place on the bench at Wolverhampton on Sunday.

Rafael van der Vaart has almost recovered from his calf injury though is unlikely to be used at Molineux. Redknapp anticipates both being able to start Wednesday's Champions League last-16 second leg against Milan.

Ledley King, who has been out of action since October, has also resumed training, as has Jonathan Woodgate, who is not as severely injured as initially feared when he hobbled off after the first-leg victory over Milan three weeks ago. Younes Kaboul is also close to returning following his knee injury and Tom Huddlestone should be back before the end of the season.

"We're close to having an awful lot of players back fit," said Redknapp. "Within another two weeks we'll have about five or six coming back, which will make a big difference to the squad. Tom is still three weeks away from training but hopefully he'll be back for the last few games, which will be great."

Despite being only days away from one of the biggest matches in Tottenham's history – the return leg against Milan – Redknapp maintains that the club's priority is to finish in the top four of the Premier League in order to qualify for the Champions League again next season. Although Spurs are only one point behind fourth-placed Chelsea he believes the only one of the teams currently above them that they could catch is Manchester City.

Spurs secured their qualification at City's expense last season by winning at Eastlands in the second-last match of the campaign and Redknapp says he would not be surprised if this season's denouement was similar – which is why he is so enthused about the prospect of having a fully fit squad by the time Spurs go back to Eastlands on April 17.

"I can't ever see Chelsea not finishing in the top four. They're a very, very strong outfit, so I've got a feeling that it rests between us and Manchester City as to who grabs the last spot," said Redknapp. "It could be as tight as it was last season. But we're in good shape now, right where we want to be."

Powered by article was written by Paul Doyle, for The Guardian on Friday 4th March 2011 22.30 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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