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AVB offers injury update

Andre Villas-Boas is expecting Michael Dawson and Gareth Bale to return to his plans for Tottenham Hotspur's home date with Stoke.

Influential winger Bale has sat out Spurs' last two Premier League fixtures with a hamstring injury, but he is due to resume training this week.

Dawson has also missed meetings with Everton and Swansea with a similar complaint, but he too is close to linking back up with the first-team fold.

Should both men come back into contention against Stoke, and with Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto having overcome long-term injuries, Villas-Boas could find himself in the enviable position of having a fully fit squad from which to select for the busy festive period.

After seeing Spurs claim a 1-0 victory over Swansea City on Sunday, Villas-Boas said: "Michael is returning next week, Bale next week. Benoit is not far off.

"Scott is an important player. The injuries we have had, now it is a major, major bonus for us.

"Competition obviously increases for players but it is going to be the first time we have had these players available, which is going to be an extremely important thing for us." Don't miss any live and exclusive football coverage this festive season. Click to visit Sky Sports' Festive Calendar