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N/L Deano's downer

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Rarely can a 3-0 win come at such a personal cost to one player.

The win in question was Southampton's at Brighton in the Worthington Cup second round, it was being selected for that game that has cost Dean Richards the chance to step out at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff as the team chase a first piece of silverware under the management of Glenn Hoddle.

Cup weeks must have been a demoralising experience for Dean, having no part in and having to sit and watch games like the 5-1 triumph over Chelsea.

It is not lost on Dean that Southampton's trek to Brighton back in September has cost him dear.

"That's right," pondered Dean as Spurs Lodge was buzzing with preparations for Sunday. "But, obviously, at the time there was a lot of speculation about the transfer to Spurs. But it hadn't gone through so I had to go out and play for Southampton.

"Now I look back and it's disappointing that I can't play in the final, but it's one of those things that I've been aware of all the way through. It's not too bad, it could be worse. If you missed the final through being injured or suspended it would be a lot worse.

"I've been aware of the situation from day one and been able to handle it okay."

At the time, the result at Brighton was a rare high point in a dismal Southampton start to the new campaign.

"We had a sticky start and it could have been a banana skin, but we went down there put on a performance and got a good result."

Deano has now got to steel himself for the trip to Wales, wanting the boys to win, but knowing he will not really feel part of proceedings.

"I think I will feel a bit like a spare part. It's difficult when you're not around the dressing room and not part of the team or the squad. It's difficult to get in and feel part of it.

"I'll just go there and try and support the lads and get behind them. Hopefully they'll get the right result."

One thing the trip might do is inspire Dean to make sure that a return visit is on the cards in May - and to do that Chelsea will have to be overcome again.

"I suppose, especially with Sunday and going down to Cardiff, seeing the stadium and not being able to play. It will increase my desire even more to be part of a major final there in the future."

By Richard Hubbard