English League 2

Rowett wants Burton response

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Sat, 06 Apr 2013 10:10:00

Mousa Dembele is confident that Tottenham Hotspur will finish in the top four of the Premier League even if Gareth Bale misses a number of key games.

Welshman Bale was stretchered off at the end of Spurs' Europa League game against Basel on Thursday with an ankle injury, and it was initially feared that his season could have been brought to a premature end.

There was positive news on Friday as scans revealed that Bale should be back in training in a fortnight, although Tottenham will have to cope without him against Everton on Sunday.

Dembele has faith in the rest of the squad, though, saying: "Can we make the top four without Gaz? Yes, of course we can.

"There are other good players who play well. He has been very important for us but other players have to step up now."

Dembele admits it is a blow to be without Aaron Lennon as well as Bale, with the England winger also expected to be back in a couple of weeks after picking up an injury against Basel.

"Everybody knows they are two very important players for us so it's another big disappointment," said Dembele.

"But I think we have a big, good squad and we have to concentrate on beating Everton now."

Belgian midfielder Dembele is backing his former Fulham team-mate Clint Dempsey as one of the players who can make a vital contribution for the final few weeks of the season.

He said: "I remember from my time at Fulham he was very important so I know what he can do.

"He can score important goals as well. He has just come back from injury but before that he was showing some good form.

"That's the reason I have confidence - but there are other players as well."

Veteran striker Lee Hughes struck twice from the penalty spot after opening the hosts' account with a firm header, with his hat-trick contributing to Vale's biggest win in 53 years in front of 10,978 supporters on Friday night.

Ben Williamson also grabbed a brace for second-placed Vale while Tom Pope, with his 32nd goal of the season, and Chris Birchall were on target as well, substitute Matt Paterson netting Burton's impressive consolation.

The emphatic defeat leaves fifth-placed Albion winless in four games with just a further four remaining this season in League Two.

Rowett admitted: "They were a lot better than us. They were strong and ran with more desire.

"But that's 10 goals we've conceded in two games and we can't keep defending like that. It's given our goal difference a massive battering. So we've got to put it right.

"I always thought our two home games coming up against Wycombe and Plymouth would define our season more than this game.

"But for 20 minutes in the first half we were all over the shop and we made poor decisions on the ball. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb.

"Matt Paterson came on and showed some real desire and his finish was sensational and it was just unfortunate the game wasn't tighter.

"It's a test for everyone now as we have been on a poor run."

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