Rafael van der Vaart set to return for Spurs against Milan

Rafael van der Vaart set to return for Spurs against MilanTottenham Hotspur will welcome their leading scorers Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale back to their starting line-up for Wednesday's second leg of their Champions League knockout tie against Milan, though their Italian opponents are more wary of the considerable threat posed by Peter Crouch at White Hart Lane.

The England forward got the only goal at San Siro and unnerved the Serie A leaders to the extent that Thiago Silva, the Rossoneri's Brazilian centre-half, has claimed Crouch is "the strongest player I have marked in the Champions League". Those sentiments are shared by Robinho, previously at Manchester City, even if he retains hope Spurs' 1-0 advantage from the first leg can be overturned.

"Tottenham play in a different way, focusing on physical strength, plenty of crosses into the box – especially because they have a very tall player in Peter Crouch," said Robinho. "I think they will play exactly the same way again but I honestly believe we can win in England. We will have to change our attitude and be even more focused, and if we concede a goal things will become even more difficult, but anything can happen in football. Our goal is to come back from England having qualified for the next round of the Champions League. I played in England for a year and a half and I know how English teams play – very well."

The return of Bale and Van der Vaart after back and calf problems respectively provides Tottenham with a timely fillip just as their league form appears to be stuttering after a defeat at Blackpool and a high-scoring draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Bale has contributed 11 goals this season has been sorely missed over the last six weeks.

Van der Vaart has 12 goals in his first season in England but has not featured since the first leg at Milan on 15 February. "We've got enough to hurt Milan at home," Harry Redknapp said. "We'll be positive and will play an attacking team. We'll play Lennon and probably Bale and have a go. Gareth carries the game at the opposition and that makes a massive difference. Peter Crouch has had a great European campaign as well. And Van der Vaart has a good chance for Wednesday, I hope he will be fit."

The Spurs manager will still be without Vedran Corluka, who suffered a sprained ankle in a challenge by Mathieu Flamini at San Siro, and he has warned the former Arsenal midfielder that the home support will remember that foul. "He probably will get a bad reception, yes," Redknapp said. "But it'll be a great atmosphere at White Hart Lane anyway."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Dominic Fifield, for The Guardian on Monday 7th March 2011 20.33 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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