Tottenham Hotspur will travel to Deepdale Stadium in Lancashire tomorrow to face Preston North End in the Championship as part of the fourth round of the FA Cup. Tottenham assistant manager Christian Stallini sat in place of his boss Antonio Conte for the usual pre-match press conference, with Conte continuing to take a back seat in media duties ahead of the domestic cup competitions.
Stallini indicated that new Tottenham loanee Arnaut Danjuma could be thrown straight into the fire against Preston, saying the squad is almost healthy. However, he questioned the availability of Harry Kane, who has been dealing with illness this week and only recently returned to training.
“Arnaut Danjuma is available, he is a player we can use tomorrow in the game. We only have one problem, with Harry [Kane], because he played the last game full of sickness. He didn’t train during the week, he trained this morning, but he wants to come with us and be available. We know very well that Harry wants to play in every game, so we are happy that Harry is involved in the game, but the only situation we have to deal with is this.”
After Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage on Monday, Harry Kane was revealed to have played, scoring the only goal of the game, while suffering from a fever. This illness is probably the same illness that kept him out of training for several days this week as well. It doesn’t surprise me at all that Kane would turn himself in to play against Preston – that’s exactly the type of mental monster he is – but playing against a championship team, it seems like a logical fit to rest him, or at least keep him in an impact role. His rest of course means he cannot eclipse Jimmy Greaves as Tottenham’s all-time leading goalscorer.
It also begs the question of what the Spurs would do in this situation. Danjuma will be one option as much as he can and has played as a central striker. Another option would be to bring in Richarlison, who has rarely started this season since signing from Everton last summer. Stallini appeared to suggest that while Danjoma may be an option, he is not immediately ready to start and familiarize himself with Tottenham’s tactics under Conte – hinting when asked that if he does feature, Danjoma could be a substitute.
“We think every game we prepare, every game we get ready to play, we pick the best team to try to win. We can make a change, we’ve been here long enough to have players ready to play one game and some changes where nothing happens (to the level) With some changes. The only player we can understand who is not as ready as the others is Arnaut because he is a new player. We are happy but we have to give him time to understand everything.”
Preston is a team that is not very good on the offensive side of the ball, but has a strong defensive lineup. This could cause them to fall apart, especially if they decide to sit deep and place a player behind the ball. For this reason, and because Spurs had almost a week to prepare and another week before their next game against Manchester City, we could see a strong side with only a few rotations based on need or tactics. Spurs kick off at 1:00pm Israel time / 6:00pm UK time; The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ in the US, and will be broadcast on BBC One in the UK.