x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Medical procedure means Redknapp misses Rubin Kazan match

Harry Redknapp will not be on the sideline for Tottenham Hotspur in their Europa League tie against Rubin Kazan.

Tottenham Hotspur will be without Harry Redknapp on the touchline for their Europa League match in Russia tonight because the manager has had a medical procedure.

The club said Redknapp, 64, underwent an undisclosed procedure yesterday morning "and will therefore not travel with the squad to Russia." The procedure was widely reported to be minor heart surgery.

"I'm hoping I can be back at work again in a couple of days," Redknapp told The Sun newspaper.

Tottenham are unbeaten since August 28 with eight wins and three draws from their past 11 matches but will again rest many key players for their Europa League assignment at Rubin Kazan. The likes of Rafael van der Vaart, Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Scott Parker and Brad Friedel all sat out Spurs' 1-0 win over the Russian side two weeks ago.

Fringe players Giovani Dos Santos, Tom Carroll, Jake Livermore and Danny Rose seem likely to reprise their starting roles from the previous match.

Spurs lead Group A, with English rivals Stoke City and Birmingham City, who are also in action tonight, both topping their pools.

Stoke, the Group E pacesetters, head to Maccabi Tel Aviv, who they beat 3-0 in their last European match, without the defender Ryan Shawcross and the midfielder Marc Wilson after the pair limped out of Monday's 3-1 Premier League defeat to Newcastle with muscular injuries.

"We always knew this week was going to be a massive ask, and now the second and third games will seem even tougher for us," Tony Pulis, the manager, said.

"This was the game where we hoped we would be nice and fresh, ready to go. But it hasn't worked out that way, so now we must make sure we bounce back in Tel Aviv."

Birmingham hosts FC Bruges knowing that victory would give them sole charge of Group H over the Belgian side.

Fulham, the fourth English club in the competition, could draw level with FC Twente at the top of Group K with victory over visiting Wisla Krakow. But the Polish side have already beaten Fulham 1-0 and Twente are up against an Odense side they routed 4-1 in Denmark two weeks ago.

While Udinese are on the verge of progress in the Europa League ahead of tonight's meeting with Atletico Madrid, Lazio urgently need victory to avoid an embarrassing early exit. The Italian rivals are performing well in Serie A, where they are both one point behind league leaders Juventus. But only Udinese have carried that domestic form into Europe's second-tier club competition.

Lazio host FC Zurich, two weeks after drawing 1-1 in Switzerland against the same side.

The Rome club at least have the consolation that Zurich and Romania's Vaslui are performing equally poorly in Group D, with all three clubs tied on two points and vying to advance alongside likely group winner Sporting Lisbon.

And Lazio's forwards are in form. Miroslav Klose has been finding the target frequently, with eight goals in 11 matches in all competitions since joining from Bayern Munich, and Djibril Cisse set up two goals in Sunday's 3-0 Serie A win over Cagliari.

Udinese have their own in-form striker ahead of their trip to Atletico, who they beat 2-0 in Italy with two late goals.

Antonio Di Natale has led Serie A in scoring the past two seasons and again tops the chart this season with seven goals in the club's opening nine games.

* Agencies