Scottish Premier League

Duo set to sign new Caley deals

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Wed, 03 Apr 2013 19:06:00

Tottenham will be without striker Jermain Defoe for the first round of their Europa League quarter-final tie with Basle at White Hart Lane on Thursday night.

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas confirmed Defoe, 30, is likely to missing for up to 10 days after sustaining a muscle injury, but said it was not a recurrence of the muscle tear he suffered last month.

Sandro and Younes Kaboul (both knee) remain sidelined but goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is available after recovering from the knee problem that ruled him out of the weekend victory over Swansea, although Brad Freidel has been first-choice for much of the Europa League campaign this season.

Fenerbahce coach Aykut Kocaman believes Lazio are "one step ahead" in the race to lift this season's Europa League trophy.

The Turkish giants are looking to reach the last four of a UEFA competition for the first time by ousting Lazio at the quarter-final stage.

Vladimir Petkovic's Biancocelesti, however, are the only side yet to lose a game in this season's Europa League and are also the highest scoring club with 19 goals.

Fener may have dominated Group C before knocking both BATE Borisov and Viktoria Plzen out but Kocaman knows conquering the Romans at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium will be a tall order.

He told fenerbahce.org: "Of all the teams competing in the Europa League this season, Lazio just seem to be one step ahead of the rest.

"It will be an extremely challenging game and one that is so valuable to us. Therefore, playing as a team will be crucial and we will have to score."

Kocaman also issued kind words of support for fierce Istanbul rivals Galatasaray, who visit Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

"I wish Galatasaray good luck, they are going to play a very difficult game as well," he added. "Turkish football has developed so much while these two clubs have been developing.

"Now both Galatasaray and Fenerbahce are tasked with making the big breakthrough for Turkish football."

Former Liverpool duo Raul Meireles and Dirk Kuyt should start with ex-Chelsea midfielder Miroslav Stoch pushing for inclusion in the first XI.

Biancocelesti striker Miroslav Klose, meanwhile, returned from a leg injury against Catania on Saturday and could partner either Louis Saha or Libor Kozak.

The Czech Republic international is now the tournament's top scorer after his hat-trick against Stuttgart in the last 16 moved him on to eight goals, one ahead of Napoli's Edinson Cavani.

For visiting coach Petkovic, the Sukru Saracoglu holds special memories of a 1-0 win he described as "probably my greatest victory ever".

His Young Boys side eliminated Kocaman's Fenerbahce from the third qualifying round of the 2010-11 Champions League by winning in Istanbul having claimed a 2-2 draw in Berne.

And on his return to Turkey, he told Gazzetta.it: "I know Fenerbahce well - they are a very worthy opponent.

"In this stadium and with these fans they'll always have a small advantage. We will need to harness all of our mental strength to dominate them."

Doran is joint top of the Scottish Premier League assists list alongside Motherwell striker Henrik Ojamaa with 12, while Raven has proved a successful summer signing at right-back.

Butcher, whose side host St Johnstone on Friday night, said: "We are speaking to their agents and getting on very well. I'm optimistic that we can get something done. That might not be until next week possibly.

"But they are good boys and it's nice when players see their colleagues and friends pen two-year deals to stay here.

"If we can get two or three of these boys signed up that will mean we have got the nucleus of the squad again for next season.

"If David Raven signs we have got the same back four again, which is a first. It's good because it shows to us they have got a lot of faith in the club and what we're doing."

Doran revealed he was keen to conclude a deal following talks with Butcher.

The Irish winger said: "I'd be delighted. We spoke last week and I told him to get in contact with my representatives and we can take it from there. "There have been some discussions this week and hopefully it will be good news.

"We have got something special here. This team spirit is the best I've ever seen. The gaffer has nearly signed everyone up from this team.

"I don't know why anyone would want to leave. We are doing really well and could be playing in Europe next season."

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