David Showell

Having made such an excellent start to what promised to be a potentially difficult season, people are beginning to notice Tottenham Hotspur once again. Not too long ago, they looked over their shoulder at the possibility of relegation, but that’s all changed now. Spurs have made such progress that their players may well need to check their passports for next season.

But do they really have the squad strength and alternative options to sustain this progress?

Former Chelsea shot-stopper Carlo Cudicini has worn the gloves in recent weeks, with the occasionally brilliant but rather inconsistent Heurelho Gomes keeping the bench warm. The pecking order also includes Ben Alnwick and Jimmy Walker, two English keepers. Comparable strength between the sticks to their rivals at least.

In recent years, Tottenham’s leaky defence has given their fans more sleepless nights than worries about the credit crunch, backfiring cars or noisy teenage parties. The unlucky Ledley King struggles to stay fit, and Jonathan Woodgate is also no stranger to the treatment room. Therefore, the strength in depth at the back may be of vital importance at the Lane.

The purchase of Sebastien Bassong from Newcastle and Kyle Naughton from Sheffield United has given Tottenham some much-needed extra options, and may prove key in the months ahead. Bassong’s opening-match goal against Liverpool may prove a pointer to greater things.

The once-promising Gareth Bale will surely get a chance again soon to show Harry Redknapp what he can do. He hasn’t covered himself in glory since moving to north London, but good players never become bad players overnight. Likewise, Michael Dawson had some good and bad days at the back for Spurs last season, and will provide excellent back-up to King, Woodgate and Bassong.

In midfield, the club have plenty of options, and Redknapp will hope not only to get the best out of the usual suspects, but that the square pegs will all turn into round ones. The loss of Luka Modric, thanks to a broken leg, will need to be overcome. The Croatian was turning into a real Premier League force, and will be sadly missed. Aaron Lennon, after a poor 2008/09, is back to his pacey best, and Tom Huddlestone is starting to look like a classy pass-master.

Winston Palacios has made a good start to his White Hart Lane career, but judging by his tackling technique, Redknapp may well need to think about cover during the almost inevitable suspensions from time to time. Jermaine Jenas is a class act, and will be hoping this season will put him back in the frame for a World Cup place. But who’s ready and willing to provide cover?

David Bentley has failed to make a major mark at Spurs, and was the subject of transfer speculation in the summer. If clubs such as Aston Villa come calling again in January, Redknapp may have to be like the man from Del Monte, and say yes.

The recent purchase of Niko Kranjcar from Portsmouth suggests Bentley may be even further down the pecking order, especially as the players are quite similar. Danny Rose is a promising youngster who may well need to get his boots dirty soon. While loaning out midfielders like Jamie O’Hara (Portsmouth), Jake Livermore (Derby County) and Adel Taarabt (Queens Park Rangers) may prove misguided in the long run.

Up front, Redknapp will be feeling like a lottery winner. His strikers have been finding the net with increasing regularity. Jermain Defoe in particular has started the season like a man on a mission, and at the moment scoring goals seems easier than sneaking up on babies and taking their candy. Robbie Keane, not one to be outdone, managed four against a bemused Burnley defence recently, and has plenty more where that came from.

Peter Crouch played in the Carling Cup in a difficult tie at Preston, and the bean-pole enjoyed a bean-feast, netting an excellent hat-trick in the process. Also in the mix is Russia’s Roman Pavlyuchenko, yet to really make his name at Spurs, but an extremely useful finisher. How many other clubs have a fourth-choice striker of his ability?

Redknapp loves the transfer window, and is often at his best when he’s wheeler-dealing. Come January, no doubt he’ll be tweaking here and adjusting there, with a mobile phone in one hand and his little black book in the other. However, with the current squad looking confident as well as competent, he may not need to make too many alterations this time round.

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