Jermain Defoe is hopeful that he will be able to return from injury in time for the highly anticipated north London derby against Arsenal on March 3.

The 30-year-old was ruled out of action earlier this month after damaging ankle ligaments in the win over West Brom and had been forced to wear a protective boot in order to speed up his recovery.

Jermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe is helped off the pitch after picking up an injury against West Brom [Reuters]

However, the Evening Standard has reported that Defoe can now walk unaided and optimistic that he will be able to return to first team action in just over three weeks when Arsenal are the visitors to White Hart Lane.

Spurs are currently four points, and one place, ahead of their north London rivals and will be hoping that they can extend that advantage by the time the two sides meet at the start of March.

Earlier this season Arsenal secured an emphatic 5-2 win over Tottenham, the second season in succession they had won by this scoreline at the Emirates, and Andre Villas-Boas will be desperate to exact revenge.

His side currently occupy the final Champions League position and will almost certainly be battling with Arsenal for the remainder of the season to see who manages to grab a top four finish.

Tottenham will hope to maintain their advantage over the Gunners in the coming weeks when they will be without Defoe. The striker's absence means that Villas-Boas has just one fit senior forward in Emmanuel Adebayor, although Clint Dempsey showed against Newcastle that he can operate as a lone forward.

Fortunately Defoe's injury has coincided with a period where there is a slight break in the Premier League and the only game he should miss going forward, bar the two legs against Lyon in the Europa League, is the trip to his former club West Ham on February 25.

The Standard reports that there is even a slim chance that he will be available for the trip to Upton Park, but it seems more likely he will not be risked and that the date with Arsenal is the more likely option.