Former Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood is keen for Aston Villa to build on their performance against QPR this Saturday when he returns to White Hart Lane for the first time.
Sherwood enjoyed a positive six-month spell in charge of the north London club, taking over from Andre Villas-Boas in December 2013 before leaving at the end of last season.
The 46-year-old guided Spurs to a sixth-place finish before his departure but returns with his current side in the midst of a battle to avoid the drop, with Villa three points above the bottom three.
Christian Benteke’s hat-trick heroics ensured a 3-3 draw against fellow strugglers QPR on Monday, with Sherwood eager to keep picking up points.
“I look back at my time with Tottenham with pride. I walked away from Tottenham with my head held high,” he told reporters.
“The game against QPR was our best performance of the season but we need to eradicate the stupid goals.
“We are hungry, fighting for our lives and we will go out in every game and try to win it.”
Sherwood will be without Alan Hutton (ankle), Ashley Westwood and Scott Sinclair (both hamstring) this weekend while Benteke will again be crucial with Libor Kozak unavailable despite returning from a broken leg for Villa’s Under-21s in midweek.
Opposite number Mauricio Pochettino also has injury concerns, with Hugo Lloris (knee) and Kyle Walker (foot) unable to participate in an open training session on Thursday.
Defender Jan Vertonghen could return from illness but Lloris’ continued absence means Michel Vorm is set to continue in goal.
Vorm made his first Premier League start for the club in last Sunday’s low-key 0-0 draw at Burnley – a result that further diminished Spurs’ top-four hopes and keeps them outside the top five by virtue of an inferior goal difference to Liverpool
However, Spurs have lost just once at home in the league since the start of November, a sequence that bodes well for a UEFA Europa League qualification bid.
Vorm is eager to play his part in the season’s run-in, telling the club’s official website: “When you go to a place like Burnley you know they are fighting against relegation and teams have struggled against them.
“You always have to be ready. I work very well with Hugo, Brad Friedel and goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez – he always makes sure we’re ready because you never know what is going to happen.
“Now it’s my chance and I think I did okay. That’s what we train for every day.”