Tottenham Hotspur will again be without influential Belgian defensive duo Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen for Wednesday night's [28 February] FA Cup replay against third-tier Rochdale, with Mauricio Pochettino uncertain if the pair will be fit to face Juventus next week.
Alderweireld spent three months on the sidelines with a hamstring tear suffered in the memorable Champions League victory over Real Madrid in November and played just twice on his return in cup ties - the fourth-round replay against Newport County and initial fifth-round clash with Rochdale - while being held back for high-profile clashes with Arsenal and the Bianconeri.
The versatile Eric Dier eventually started alongside record signing Davinson Sanchez in central defence at Selhurst Park, with the formerly ever-present Vertonghen a surprise omission from the matchday squad as the result of a heavy knock to the ankle sustained in a final pre-match session in Enfield.
Pochettino claimed after the match that the 30-year-would be assessed on Monday and Tottenham have now confirmed via social media that "both absences are expected to be short-term".
Asked at his pre-Rochdale press conference if Alderweireld and Vertonghen would be back for the second leg of the Champions League last-16 clash with Juve next week, Pochettino said, per football.london: "We don't know. Still we don't know. Jan yesterday had a positive scan.
"We are positive, we are happy because he feels much better. For tomorrow, sure not, but maybe for the weekend yes. With Toby, we need to assess him day by day, but he's different to Jan."
According to Tottenham's official website, he added: "Always you want all the players fit and available to be selected but that is why we are an amazing squad.
"We have a lot of players that wait for their opportunity and of course we are going to be more happy when all are fit, but if something happens like in the last week with Jan or with Toby, who for nearly four months now has been out, of course, you need the squad. We are ready to compete."
With that finely-poised second leg against Juventus coming up, Pochettino is planning to rotate his squad for the visit of Rochdale, who trailed 2-1 in the dying embers of their original meeting with Tottenham at Spotland on 18 February before Steve Davies' dramatic 93rd-minute equaliser forced a money-spinning Wembley replay for League One's bottom club.
Such a policy will presumably hand further chances to impress to the likes of Michel Vorm, Juan Foyth, Moussa Sissoko, Harry Winks, Fernando Llorente and January signing Lucas Moura.
"We are going to rotate some players to give (them) the possibility to play," the manager added. "They are in a good level and then we are going to play again on Saturday - a short period to recover for a Premier League game - and then the Champions League.
"We are very busy with the fixtures but that is why we need all involved, to be fit and to be part of the situation. In the games they have the possibility to show their quality."