Spurs hopeful over VDV fitness

The Dutchman will take no part in Tottenham’s final pre-season

friendly against Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, having picked up an

ankle injury in a 3-2 win over Brighton. Spurs open their

competitive season at home to the Toffees, but their Europa League

play-off tie with Hearts on August 18 may prove a more realistic

date for Van der Vaart’s return. “We’ll keep our fingers crossed

for next week,” Kevin Bond, Tottenham’s assistant manager, told the

Daily Telegraph. Tottenham’s first-team coach Joe Jordan, who

managed Hearts from 1990 to 1993, admits both sides have a lot of

foreign influence. He does not believe that takes away from the

inevitable ‘battle of Britain’ tag, though, and insists Spurs will

take the game as seriously as any other European tie. “Hearts have

a good contingent of foreign players and so do we,” he said. “So

that aspect will be with the supporters, that’s how they will look

at it, they will enjoy that and it will give the tie some added

spice. “But the players have played all over the world and it will

be all about winning the tie and going through to the next round.”

He added: “You can’t predict what is going to happen but certainly

we will play the strongest team that we can. “We played over 10

months to get into the competition.”