sport

Whelan ready for Spurs clash

Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan hopes he and his team-mates enjoy another prosperous trip to White Hart Lane when they take on Tottenham.

The Potters have had their fair share of success against Spurs since being promoted to the top flight in 2008, winning four and drawing one of nine meetings between the two sides in league and cup.

That has included some fruitful away days for Tony Pulis' men, who were only denied victory in north London last season by Rafael van der Vaart's stoppage-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw and in 2009-10, triumphed there 1-0.

Whelan scored the winner on that occasion and although Tottenham have been victorious in each of their last five home games in all competitions, the Republic of Ireland international is optimistic about Stoke's prospects tomorrow.

"It will be very difficult because Spurs are terrific at home," Whelan said.

"But we have had a couple of results down there. It is a great place to go if you can get a result."

Tottenham are currently fourth in the table and look to be finding their feet under boss Andre Villas-Boas, the man appointed as successor to Harry Redknapp over the summer.

Their star of the season so far has been England striker Jermain Defoe, scorer of 13 goals for the club this term, but Whelan is keen to stress that there is quality throughout the Spurs side.

"At the moment Defoe is scoring lots of goals and doing really well, but they have 11 really great players and we have to watch out for all of them," Whelan said.

"Villas-Boas has come in after leaving Chelsea and he has got his own ideas.

"I think of late you have seen with Spurs' results and how they are playing that they have been doing well, so it is going to be a tough game."

Stoke have been in good form themselves, with last weekend's 1-1 home draw with Everton extending their unbeaten run to seven matches.

Lying ninth at the moment, the Potters have a maiden top-10 Premier League finish firmly in their sights, with the possibility of claiming a European spot something Whelan is certainly not ruling out.

"I think we have started off really well," Whelan said.

"Results have gone for us, but there is still a long way to go until the end of the season.

"I think we need to just concentrate on each game as it comes.

"It would be great if we could get into Europe through our league position.

"Hopefully we will be there or thereabouts - we definitely want to kick on."

Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam is set to miss tomorrow's contest having been granted compassionate leave following the death of his father this week.

Defender Ryan Shotton is available for selection again with his one-game suspension now completed, but it is expected the Spurs match will come too soon for striker Michael Owen to make his first-team return after his recent injury problems.