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Ledley relishing latest test

Ledley King believes victory over Stoke City at The Lane on Saturday will be a sure sign of the progress we have made over the past year.

Ledley King believes victory over Stoke City at The Lane on Saturday will be a sure sign of the progress we have made over the past year.

Turn the clocks back 12 months, and Tony Pulis' men were sending us crashing to our sixth defeat of the 2008/09 season at the Britannia Stadium as we sat rooted to the foot of the Barclays Premier League.

Now we sit three points off the top of the table with six wins in the first nine games of the current campaign, and some fantastic football having been played by Harry Redknapp's men along the way.

Our last two games, away trips to Bolton Wanderers and Portsmouth, have provided stern tests from which we have come away with a respectable four points.

As we know from aforementioned past experiences, Stoke will be similarly resolute when they arrive at The Lane and Ledley, who made a goalscoring return from injury in last weekend's victory at Fratton Park, believes the challenge will be one that players and fans alike will now look forward to with excitement rather than trepidation.

After all, we could be top of the table by 5pm on Saturday!

The defender said: "We were all looking forward to this season after our good run towards the end of last season. We wanted to get off to a good start after a disappointing one last season, and we've managed to do that so far. Hopefully that can continue.

"This is going to be a tough game and Stoke will make it difficult for us. But this is an exciting time for everyone at the Club, the players and the fans, due to the way we are playing at the moment.

"When it comes to playing a team like Stoke at home, people will want to see whether we can break them down and get the points. If we do, it will be proof that we are moving in the right direction."

Ledley continued: "Stoke seem to have settled into the Premier League now, especially at the start of this season. Teams know what to expect from them, but that doesn't make it any easier.

"They are a physical side and they have weapons that they use well, and we have to stand up to that. If you don't, it will make things difficult. But if we play our game, we can dictate things that way."

After scoring both goals in Stoke's 2-1 home win over West Ham last weekend, Ledley's former England team-mate James Beattie could be the human battering ram that tests our defensive resolve on Saturday.

But as our Club captain points out, the Stoke of 2009/10, which has gained a healthy 12 points from the first nine games, is about so much more than the brute force and aerial prowess that helped establish them in the top flight a year ago.

Ledley added: "James is a physical player who works hard for the team and you always know what you are going to get from him. It's always a tough game against players like James Beattie and I expect nothing less on Saturday.

"But it's not just about being physical. To play at this level, you have to be a good team all round, and that's why they are where they are. We're not underestimating their footballing ability, and we're ready for the challenge."

See this interview in full exclusively on Spurs TV Online, as well as Harry Redknapp's reflection on his first year in charge at The Lane.

There is also highlights from the manager's pre-Stoke press conference, and don't forget, you can listen to live match commentary of the game itself from 3pm on Saturday.

It's all on Spurs TV Online, so subscribe today!

CLICK HERE for details...