Bale expected to face Monaco
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas expects Gareth Bale to be back in training on Wednesday and the winger could face Monaco next weekend.
Bale was again a spectator in Hong Kong this evening as Spurs recorded a 6-0 Barclays Asia Cup thrashing of South China.
The Welshman has failed to recover from a buttock injury, although conspiracy theorists point to the timing of his absence, which has coincided with intense speculation about a bid from Real Madrid.
Villas-Boas refused to discuss Bale's future this evening.
However, he insists the £80million-rated winger will be training again after Tottenham have returned to England.
"He is going to be fit to join the team for training on Wednesday," he said. "There is a big possibility he could be fit for Monaco.
"He hasn't done any training with the team yet but in all of the pre-season friendlies we had before he was involved. We are confident he will be able to join us."
But, quizzed repeatedly about Bale's future, Villas-Boas fell back on the same phrase.
"I won't comment on anything. I am so sorry," he said. "I can't speak about speculation."
How long that situation lasts is open to debate.
Speculation will probably go on longer than the arguments over the surface, which Villas-Boas insisted was only playable due to the work of his own groundsman, Darren Baldwin.
In Hong Kong as a matter of course because Villas-Boas prefers to have his own groundsman look at every surface Spurs play on, Baldwin was supposed to return home on Thursday.
However, once it became obvious today's matches would not take place without some dramatic work following Wednesday's deluge, Baldwin stayed on.
"The game only went ahead because our groundsman did great work for the Premier League," he said. "He deserves massive credit for allowing the tournament to continue. I hope the Premier League repay him in some way."
Manchester United have already cancelled their planned open training session on Sunday and with heavy rain falling during Manchester City's encounter with Sunderland, there is extreme doubt Monday's friendly with Kitchee FC will take place.
At least Jermain Defoe had a good night, netting a hat-trick after being selected as a lone front-man in the absence of an alternative, supported by Clint Dempsey.
"I enjoy playing in that position," said Defoe. "The prospect of more strikers being brought in doesn't bother me. In fact I would welcome in because we need one last season.
"It is the start of a big year because I feel I have a chance of going to the World Cup. That will definitely be a target for this year."