In a bid to shore up his defence, West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke may be tempted to start Youssouf Mulumbu against Tottenham.
Mulumbu has missed West Brom’s past five games in all competitions as he has been away with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s national team for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
But with DR Congo having failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the continental championship, Mulumbu could be back in England in time for West Brom’s Premier League fixture against Tottenham on Sunday.
West Brom have not won a game in 2013, conceding almost two goals per game in that six-match run, and Clarke may be keen to rush Mulumbu into his starting line-up for the visit of Tottenham as the 26-year-old defensive midfielder has been one of his best players this season.
Mulumbu’s physical presence in midfield was key to West Brom’s early season run, which saw Clarke’s side keep three clean sheets in their opening five Premier League matches of the campaign.
West Brom head into Sunday’s match after a 2-1 loss away to Everton with Irish striker Shane Long coming off the bench to score the only goal for the visitors.
Long and Romelo Lukaku, who is on loan from Chelsea, have been Clarke’s main men up front this season with six and nine goals respectively.
And with Nigerian striker Peter Odemwingie having attempted a deadline-day stunt to get a move to Queens Park Rangers, expect Long and Lukaku to remain Clarke’s preferred front men.
Odemwingie travelled to QPR’s Loftus Road on Thursday, before a deal had been completed, and was subsequently locked out of the London club in an embarrassing episode for all involved.
Meanwhile, Tottenham will head to the Hawthorns hoping to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to nine matches and keep the pressure on third-placed Chelsea.
Tottenham are four points behind Chelsea on the Premier League table.
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas failed in his deadline day bid to sign Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao from Internacional.
But Villas-Boas will have German midfielder Lewis Holtby available after the former Schalke man made his debut in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw away to Norwich last week.
Villas-Boas made it clear after that match that he was thrilled with how Holtby adapted after he came off the bench in Norwich, which could point to more involvement on the pitch against West Brom.
After three consecutive draws in the Premier League, Tottenham need a win, not only to keep pressure on Chelsea, but also to stay ahead of fifth-placed Everton, who are just one point adrift of Spurs.