Tottenham Hotspur are facing a major injury crisis for their Premier League fixture against Blackburn Rovers tomorrow. Spurs could have an entire team out injured and only one fit striker for the game at White Hart Lane.
Eight players are definitely sidelined, with a further three – Tom Huddlestone (ankle), Roman Pavlyuchenko (back) and David Bentley (calf) – rated doubtful.
Robbie Keane (ankle), Aaron Lennon (hamstring) and Giovani dos Santos (groin) are still missing, while Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate (both groin), Jermain Defoe and Michael Dawson (both ligament damage) and Jamie O'Hara (back) are also still receiving treatment.
Kevin Bond, Harry Redknapp's assistant manager, said: "We've got 11 of our first-team squad out or probably not likely to be fit for the weekend. So we're struggling on the injury front at the moment."
Should Pavlyuchenko – who went off injured at half-time in Tuesday night's 1-1 draw with Sunderland – fail to make it, that would leave Peter Crouch as Tottenham's only fit forward.
Pavlyuchenko has been undergoing acupuncture in a desperate bid to make himself available and Bond admitted medics were prepared to do "anything to try to get him fit".
Rafael van der Vaart is set to play but Tottenham's influential summer signing from Real Madrid has also been suffering from tightness in his hamstrings due to not having a proper pre-season.
Bond said: "We are trying to work on it but it's very difficult because, at the moment, we're playing two games a week. We need a free week to get on the training ground and do some extra work. Hopefully, we think, the games themselves will bring him on a bit as well."
All is not well with Crouch either, with the England striker in the middle of a six-month goal drought in the league. Bond said: "He's just going through one of those periods where he's not scoring himself but I think nearly every goal that Rafa scores comes off a Peter Crouch assist.
"Obviously, from a confidence point of view, every goalscorer needs goals. If one goes in off his backside, I think maybe you'd see a different Peter Crouch and hopefully we'll see a few more goals from him."
Spurs' injury crisis has come at the worst possible time, with the club having taken just two points out of 12 in the league to leave themselves battling to secure Champions League football for a second straight season.
Redknapp reckons their celebrated exploits in Europe's premier club competition are partly to blame for all the injuries. And Bond believes the mental demands on the squad have also played a role in results such as last weekend's 4-2 defeat at Bolton, which came just days after the Champions League win over Internazionale.
"I think it's physical and it's mental," he said. "You can argue you can freshen it up but we did that last week and it didn't really work for us. I think everybody finds it not easy but it's a work-in-progress situation."
After tomorrow's game, Tottenham face a run of six domestic and European matches which include games against Arsenal, Werder Bremen, Liverpool, FC Twente and Chelsea.
"The Blackburn game is vitally important," Bond said. "We've had a little spell when we haven't got the results we'd have wanted. We know we've got a difficult run of games coming up but it's no good looking at them: we have to beat Blackburn first."
Injuries mean Niko Kranjcar looks set to be handed his second start of the season in the week the Croatia midfielder threatened to leave if he did not get more first-team action.
Bond, who insisted Redknapp would decide whether Kranjcar would be sold, said: "It didn't surprise me at all that he wasn't happy. It would surprise me if he was anything other than that to be truthful."