Tottenham frustrated by Emmanuel Adebayor's late return from Africa

• André Villas-Boas had expected striker back sooner
• Adebayor a doubt for home clash with Newcastle

Emmanuel Adebayor's return from the Africa Cup of Nations took a farcical twist on Friday when he was unable to make it back in time for Tottenham Hotspur's training session at three o'clock, to leave him as a selection doubt for the Saturday lunchtime kick-off against Newcastle United at White Hart Lane.

André Villas-Boas, the Tottenham manager, was left frustrated as Adebayor encountered problems with his flights from Africa, where he had remained since Togo's elimination from the mid-season tournament by Burkina Faso on Sunday. The striker had been granted three days off by Villas-Boas after the defeat in the hope that he could return for training at 3pm on Thursday. The schedule came to be readjusted but the player still could not make it.

He did touch down in London on Friday afternoon but not in time for the session at the club's base in Enfield, leaving Villas-Boas to decide whether to name him as a substitute for the visit of Newcastle. Villas-Boas has kept his options open by including Adebayor in the 19-man matchday squad.

Villas-Boas insisted on Thursday that he was "extremely calm over the situation", but that was because he believed there ought to be no problem for a multi-millionaire footballer making a long-distance flight in the 21st century to arrive at his destination on time. Villas-Boas made his comments at 9am on Thursday but more than 24 hours later, his mood had understandably changed.

The manager already knew that he would be without his other senior striker, Jermain Defoe, who has a worrying ankle ligament injury, and he had made it clear that he intended to rely on Adebayor, even though he accepted he would "not be 100%" after his exertions at the Africa Cup of Nations and the travel.

"The player is fit," Villas-Boas said. "If he is able to be ready physically, we will select him and he will be in contention for the team."

Clint Dempsey, who played for the United States in Honduras on Wednesday, is expected to lead the line against Newcastle, with Villas-Boas's selection for the role in behind him likely to come down to a choice between the in-form Gareth Bale and the new signing Lewis Holtby, who is in line for his home debut.

Adebayor has endured a difficult season at White Hart Lane, since his return on a permanent £5.5m transfer from Manchester City last August. He scored 18 goals during his season's loan last time out but he has three in this campaign.

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