West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham Hotspur - preview

Emmanuel Adebayor is the man in form for Spurs ahead of Saturday's trip to West Brom. Picture: Action Images

Emmanuel Adebayor is the man in form for Spurs ahead of Saturday's trip to West Brom. Picture: Action Images

First published in Spurs
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Spurs travel to the Hawthorns on Saturday looking to keep their slim hopes of Champions League qualification alive against West Bromwich Albion.

The Baggies need the points for altogether different reasons, perched just five points ahead of an improving Fulham in 17th.

Pepe Mel has endured a tough start to his reign at Albion, winning just two of his 11 matches in charge since succeeding Steve Clarke on January 13.

The former Real Beties and Tenerife manager has come under intense scrutiny, with his future at the club believed to be far from secure beyond the end of the season.

Without a win at the Hawthorns since New Year's Day, the Baggies' last two victories in the Premier League have both come on the road, beating Norwich and Swansea City in their last four.

Away from the field, Nicolas Anelka's 'quenelle' gesture and subsequent release caused an unwelcome distraction from the club's league form, which has been particularly disappointing after last season's eighth place finish in the Premier League.

Loanee Morgan Amalfitano and youngster Saido Berahino share top goalscorer honours with four apiece, the club's other striking options failing miserably to fill the sizable void left by Romelu Lukaku.

Marsellie loanee Amalfitano has been influential, scoring in the wins over Sunderland, Manchester United and Norwich City, as well as scoring in the 3-3 draw against Cardiff City.

A full French international, West Brom hold the right to sign the 29-year-old on a permanent basis at the end of the current campaign.

Albion last beat Spurs in the top-flight in December 2008, with late goals from Craig Beattie and Roman Bednar sealing a 2-0 win at the Hawthorns.

Spurs have since enjoyed a run of eight games without defeat against the Throstles.

Beleaguered Spurs head coach Tim Sherwood looks set to be without Sandro (calf), Michael Dawson (hamstring), Roberto Soldado (hamstring), Etienne Capoue (ankle), Erik Lamela (back), Jan Vertonghen (ankle) and Kyle Walker (groin).

West Brom are missing Zoltan Gera (hamstring), whilst Graham Dorrans (knee), Chris Brunt (knee), Claudio Yacob (hamstring) and Billy Jones (hamstring) are all doubts.

Midfielder James Morrison faces a late fitness test.

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