Tottenham, who were clear favourites for a Champions League finish earlier in the season, have now dropped out of the top four after a disappointing run of just one win in their last nine games. The North London club have only won twice since Fabio Capello quit as England manager, although Spurs boss Harry Redknapp insists that is only a coincidence.
Fortunately for Spurs they face a side as badly off as themselves. Blackburn are struggling deep in the relegation zone and need at least two wins from the remaining three games to have a chance of surviving the drop. Steve Kean's team seemed to have turned the tide with back-to-back wins last month, only to then go on a dismal run of five defeats to hit the bottom of the table again.
Redknapp has admitted Spurs need to win all four remaining matches, if they want to be back in the top four, while Kean is looking for his team's third away success of the season, so that they can get out of relegation. That makes this tie a must-win for both sides.
Team News: Wing-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto is the latest Spurs player to be ruled out for the season. The Cameroonian joins Croatian Niko Kranjcar and English midfield trio Tom Huddlestone, David Bentley and Jermaine Jenas and defender Michael Dawson. Strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Louis Saha and centre-back Younes Kaboul have recovered from their injuries and are likely to play against Rovers, while goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes remains sidelined.
Blackburn have only a small injury list to worry about. Centre-back Grant Hanley and midfielder Vince Grella are out injured and will miss the remaining games.
- Tottenham have a good record against Blackburn at White Hart Lane, having lost only once in the last eight matches. Spurs have also beaten Rovers in their last five encounters.
- However, Redknapp's men have managed just six points in their last nine games - only the relegated Wolves have a worse record.
- Blackburn beat Norwich City 2-0 last week to end a run of five successive defeats.
- In the reverse fixture in October at Ewood Park, Rafael van der Vaart netted twice to give Spurs a 2-1 win, with Mauro Formica scoring Rovers' goal.
Probable starting line-up
Tottenham: Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Kaboul, Rose; Parker, Modric, Lennon, Bale; van der Vaart; Adebayor
Blackburn: Robinson; Orr, Dann, Givet, Martin Olsson; Lowe Dunn, Formica, Pedersen; Hoilett, Yakubu