Elmander ruled out

Posted Saturday, October 03, 2009 by PA

Bolton striker Johan Elmander is out of Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Spurs at the Reebok Stadium.

Elmander sustained a hamstring injury in Monday's reserve game that will keep him sidelined for at least 10 days, thereby also probably ruling him out of Sweden's World Cup qualifiers with Denmark and Albania next week.

Manager Gary Megson has no other concerns as his side seek a third successive victory.

Megson believes the financial clout of Tottenham and Manchester City has added to the survival angst of the Premier League's smaller clubs.

Megson feels the 'big four' has effectively become a 'super six' in the wake of Spurs and City's emergence as super powers to challenge the dominance for many years of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

It is those six clubs who currently occupy the top six positions in the table, with another big-spender in Aston Villa seventh after a #40million spree of their own over the summer.

With the majority of the clubs below such heavyweights unable to compete off the field, and rarely on it save for the odd result, it increases the pressure on the likes of Bolton as they have little other than salvation to play for.

Megson said: "It is a huge task for our players.

"But one we're looking forward to because it gives us a chance to gauge ourselves against a club that has maybe spent #200million.

"And when you spend #50million on centre-forwards, I don't think it's any great surprise to see they have done so well so far this season.

"They've started the season brilliantly, and they're a side capable of pushing into the top four, although it is getting tighter and tighter up at the top.

"We might have to start talking about a top six or seven before too long.

"Although the top four is getting stronger, the teams below are spending incredible amounts of money to enable them to get into the Champions League.

"It's great for the Premier League, and it will cause one or two headaches for the teams that do expect to get into the Champions League through spending that amount of money.

"But for everybody else, it just makes life harder and harder."

Striker Jermain Defoe was back in full training on Friday and Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp will decide on Saturday whether to pitch him in against Bolton wearing a protective dressing on his two dislocated fingers.

Ledley King is still recovering from a hamstring injury while Roman Pavlyuchenko (Achilles) is back in full training but will not feature at the Reebok.

Luka Modric is no longer wearing the protective boot on his fractured fibula and has begun active rehabilitation, while Jonathan Woodgate (groin) hopes to return to training in two weeks' time.

Meanwhile, Redknapp dismissed any notion that he was about to leave Tottenham after odds tumbled on him becoming the first Premier League manager to lose his job this season.

Bookmakers slashed odds on Redknapp leaving White Hart Lane from 50-1 to evens at one point despite the manager having led Tottenham to their best start for 50 years.

After taking a training session with the first team before leaving for the Bolton game a bewildered Redknapp laughed off the rumours.

He said: "I'm definitely not leaving. It's absolute nonsense. Absolute rubbish.

"I couldn't be happier than I am here. There's not a chance of that happening. I love it here and I have no intention of leaving. It couldn't have gone better for me."

Internet sites were awash with speculation, some suggesting Redknapp could be on his way back to Portsmouth for a third time in a bid to rescue the club which has gone seven matches without recording a point this season and which this week was unable to pay some of its players.

The Portsmouth situation was compounded when new Arab owner Sulaiman Al Fahim, who has promised a #50million cash injection into the club, was taken to hospital with kidney stones.

Redknapp, whose Spurs side have won five of their first seven league matches this season, said: "I left Portsmouth more than a year ago. Hopefully, Portsmouth will get sorted out. I don't know where people dream these stories up from.

"I just hope the guy who is in hospital recovers and puts his money in and Portsmouth will be fine.

"It's been a difficult year for them.

"They've sold #80million worth of players and it's sad to see them in that situation.

"I just hope the guy sticks to his word and gives Peter Storrie (Portsmouth chief executive) the help he needs to sort the club out."


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