Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor will once again look to come to the aid of boss Tim Sherwood when they visit West Brom on Saturday.
Ahead of Monday’s clash with Sunderland, speculation swirled that Tottenham were ready to dispense with Sherwood’s services once the season ends.
That was despite the former England midfielder agreeing an 18-month contract when he replaced Andre Villas-Boas to take on his first managerial assignment in December.
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal has been widely linked with the post, but Adebayor – arguably the stand-out success story of Sherwood’s reign to date – bagged a brace in a 5-1 demolition of the rock-bottom Sunderland, perhaps providing a reason for chairman Daniel Levy to stick rather than twist when the close-season arrives.
Adebayor, a gifted but enigmatic striker, has endured turbulent relationships with a host of coaches during a career that has taken in spells with Monaco, Arsenal, Manchester City and Real Madrid.
The 30-year-old has hit a rich vein of form under Sherwood, scoring 13 goals in 19 matches after he was brought back from an exile imposed by Villas-Boas.
And in the build-up to The Hawthorns clash, he claimed that Sherwood “gave me back my life”, with the Togo forward having another chance to thank the under-pressure coach on Saturday.
Tottenham sit sixth in the table – five points behind rivals Arsenal, who occupy the final UEFA Champions League place – and know they really need a victory to keep their slim hopes of returning to Europe’s premier club competition alive.
West Brom’s plight is very different, with another mid-season appointment, Spaniard Pepe Mel, trying to steer his side clear of the bottom three.
Mel, who replaced the sacked Steve Clarke, has seen his side rise to 16th, five points above the relegation zone, after two wins in their last four matches – including a 1-0 triumph at Norwich City last time out.
But West Brom are far from safe with tricky trips to Manchester City and Arsenal to come, while the two teams immediately below them – Norwich and Fulham – meet this weekend.
Mel could name an unchanged starting XI for the first time since taking over if midfielder James Morrison passes a late fitness test on his injured ankle.
If the former Middlesbrough man misses out, West Brom captain Chris Brunt will come in after he made a successful comeback from a knee injury for the club’s Under-21 side on Sunday – a game that defender Billy Jones also featured in.
Jones is fit after a hamstring injury, as is midfielder Claudio Yacob, but Zoltan Gera’s own hamstring problem sees him sidelined.
Roberto Soldado (hamstring) and Jan Vertonghen (calf) remain doubtful for Tottenham, while Kyle Walker (groin), Erik Lamela (thigh) and Etienne Capoue (ankle) are set to miss again.
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