Bob curses bad timing

Roberto Martinez
Roberto Martinez

ROBERTO Martinez has said he feels aggrieved by the scheduling of Latics crucial game with Tottenham Hotspur tonight, as the club try to snap up any last-minute transfer deals.

Latics face in-form Spurs at White Hart Lane on the evening the transfer window shuts, leaving the Latics manager in the unenviable position of trying to prepare the team as well as deal with any matters arising from the frantic last few hours before the transfer deadline passes.

The Spaniard says he will battle through the circumstances, but emphasises he was unhappy at the scheduling of this match, which he feels could have been better organised.

He said: “Going down to London will not be a massive problem, as I don’t believe in leaving everything for the last day of the transfer window, but it’s a bit of a strange situation.

“Facing the deadline while trying to prepare properly for the game, I don’t think it’s as good as it has been in previous windows.

“I don’t feel it’s massively significant as I’m happy with the squad we’ve got, so the priority will always be the three points at White Hart Lane in what is such an important game for both sides.

“Nothing counts more than getting those points.”

Martinez has praised his opponents for the way they have continued to pick up points this season. Manager Harry Redknapp has made headlines for his tax evasion trial in recent days, but has won many admirers for his work at Spurs this term.

Martinez said: “They’ve got a fantastic squad and they’ve really focused. I think Harry has a very strong relationship with the players.

“When the manager is not there, as a player you want to repay him and the way to do that is by performing on the pitch. That’s what Spurs have been doing, and they’ve been at the same high level of performance.”

Spurs’ front men Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe are doubtful for tonight’s game after picking up hamstring injuries in Friday night’s FA Cup win over Watford.

Gareth Bale (thigh) and Ledley King (knee) were set to be assessed yesterday, but Spurs are hopeful that both will be fit.

Sandro has returned to light training following his calf injury but is unlikely to be risked, while William Gallas (also calf) and Tom Huddlestone (ankle) are unavailable.

Meanwhile, Spurs midfielder Tom Carroll has joined Derby on loan until the end of the season.

Carroll, 19, made his debut against Hearts in the Europa League earlier this season and has since gone on to make six more first-team appearances.

Derby boss Nigel Clough is a big admirer of the diminutive playmaker, who earned a call up to the England Under-21 squad in November.

Clough said: “He’s a highly regarded young player and we’ve monitored his progress for a considerable amount of time.”