Tim Sherwood said that he had bad news for Arsenal – Emmanuel Adebayor has declared himself fit for Tottenham Hotspur and he is ready to bring down his former club in Saturday's showpiece FA Cup fixture at the Emirates Stadium.

Adebayor has found form since Sherwood replaced André Villas-Boas as the Tottenham manager, scoring four goals in five matches. The last one came at Old Trafford on New Year's Day, in the 2-1 Premier League win over Manchester United, a game that an exhausted Adebayor departed early on a stretcher.

Sherwood said that the striker had cramped up in almost every muscle but he told Arsenal to expect him back and firing for the tie of the third round.

"Adebayor will be huge," Sherwood said. "I think that if Arsène Wenger saw him limping off at Old Trafford … I'm sure there were a lot of pleased Arsenal fans, management and players but, unfortunately, he's going to be walking out against them.

"It didn't look great when he came off on that stretcher but he is a warrior. There is no holding him back at the moment. He got cramp in every part of his body and we weren't sure what to rub and what to put ice on next. He was really struggling. But the guys have given him some treatment, and loving, which they were told to do, and I am sure he is going to be fine.

"At every club he's ever played for, the fans respect Adebayor for the player he is. There are certain players when the team-sheet comes in, you scan down and see if they're playing. I did it at Old Trafford … see if [Wayne] Rooney's playing straight away and I'm sure Arsenal will do the same with Adebayor."

Adebayor spent three and a half seasons at Arsenal before leaving them for Manchester City in July 2009 for £25m. He incensed Arsenal with his behaviour in his first game against them, when he raked Robin van Persie with his studs and celebrated his goal in City's 4-2 win by running the length of the Etihad Stadium pitch to slide on his knees in front of the travelling fans.

Adebayor's last appearance at the Emirates, in November 2012, was also controversial. He put Tottenham in front before he was sent off for a high challenge on Santi Cazorla in the 18th minute. Arsenal recovered to win 5-2.

"Adebayor is cleverer than people think," Sherwood said. "He realises and learns from his mistakes. It was a 50-50 and it could have gone either way whether he got sent off. He might have been a bit unfortunate. I'm sure he's learned from that and let's keep our fingers crossed he stays on all the game. Let's hope there's an FA Cup script written for him."

It has been a topsy-turvy season for Adebayor. He missed much of pre-season as he contended with the death of his brother and, after returning to the club and initially being asked to train away from the first-team group, he was overlooked for selection by Villas-Boas. Under the Portuguese, he featured for only 45 minutes, in the 6-0 defeat at City. His transformation under Sherwood has been eye-catching if not entirely unsurprising.

"He's a top player, it's as simple as that," Sherwood said. "He has a real desire to want to play at the moment and he is one of the top players in this division. I am only worried about how I treat him. I am certain I will show him the respect he deserves as long as he continues to show that respect to me.

"He is a good character around the place, a total professional and he is really focused game to game. He was in real pain at Old Trafford, he couldn't walk, so for him to put himself in the frame for this game is a real credit to him.

"He loves scoring goals and trying to bring him off the pitch to protect him at times … he gives me that stare. Sometimes, you have to do it. He knows I'm doing it for the right reasons. I have never heard him talking about anything other than the games, enjoying training and looking forward to the next games."