Tottenham v Shamrock Rovers preview

Shamrock Rovers will hope to address their opening day defeat at home to Rubin Kazan when they face English premier league side Tottenham Hotspurs at White Hart Lane on Thursday.

Despite a spirited performance in that tie Michael O’Neill’s men went down 3-0 and with the Irish league of Ireland rookies at this level, O’Neill will be hoping that his side learned some lessons from that experience.

Rovers, the current champions of Ireland, have been in fine form domestically, winning six of their last eight games and come into this game on the back of a 5-2 win over Bray.

Rohan Ricketts, who scored his first goal in the win over the Wicklow side, looks set to start on a return to one his former clubs. The former Spur, only the fourth player to leave Arsenal for Tottenham when he crossed London in 2002, has proved a shrewd signing by the Hoops since his August move.

Former Everton trainee Karl Sheppard and Aston Villa bound Enda Stevens were substitutes for Monday’s game, an indication that they may start in London. Sheppard in particular could feature with Gary O’Neill out with a thigh injury.

Central defender Craig Sives has been passed fit to play while O’Neill is sweating on the fitness of keeper Ryan Thompson who is struggling to be fit for the game.

With just 5 games to go in the Irish championship race, O’Neill must juggle his squad sufficiently so that he can keep his squad fresh for the more realistic aim of a title win rather than going for the glory of a result against their wealthier opponents.

Spurs meanwhile fielded a much-changed and inexperienced side against PAOK Salonika two weeks ago and still grabbed a deserved point in a 0-0 stalemate.

Harry Redknapp is likely to field a similarly unfamiliar side in a competition which he admitted is not at the top of his priorities especially with the Sunday’s North London derby with Arsenal no doubt at the back of his mind.

The likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Scott Parker, so influential in recent weeks, could be rested although the veteran manager did announce that Aaron Lennon is fit and set to start.

The winger has been sidelined by a groin problem since the home match against City on August 28. Danny Rose (knee) and Steven Pienaar (groin) are also both back in the frame for our second group match and could feature.

Giovani dos Santos, Andros Townsend, Jake Livermore and Tom Carroll are all likely to figure however it’s not all good news for Spurs with Tom Huddlestone set for ankle surgery and William Gallas struggling with another calf problem, both players are set for a spell on the sidelines.

Since their defeats to the Manchester duo of United and City, Spurs have been impressive in the league beating Wolves, Liverpool and Wigan scoring 9 goals and conceding just one.

Tottenham (from): Gomes, Cudicini, Archer, Bassong, Corluka, Kaboul, Walker, Waller-Lassen, Livermore, Townsend, Fredericks, Carroll, Sandro, Kranjcar, Nicholson, Parrett, Lennon, Pienaar, Rose, Pavlyuchenko, Dos Santos, Falque, Kane, Lancaster, Defoe, Pritchard.

Shamrock (from): Thompson, Brush, Sullivan, Stevens, Sives, Murray, Rice, O’Donnell, Flynn, Peterson, Turner, Dennehy, Finn, McCormack, McCabe, Twigg, Sheppard, Kilduff, Ricketts.

Prediction: Despite fielding a weakened side, Spurs should still have too much for the Irish side.

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