Programme: George Graham
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).
Although there is understandably some growing excitement here due to our FA Cup run to date, we must set aside those thoughts this afternoon as we return to the Premiership with many targets still in our sights.
Naturally, we want to preserve our excellent unbeaten home record in the league while our players deserve credit for the fact that we are now undefeated in nine successive games.
Remember, this has been achieved at a time (although is it ever different!) when we have not been able to call upon many of our senior players and have, at times, been forced to go into games with just one recognised striker.
Unfortunately, as our injury problems appear to improve with Les Ferdinand back in business and the likes of Steffen Iversen edging ever closer, we still await the return of Stephen Carr, Chris Perry, Darren Anderton, Chris Armstrong and Ben Thatcher while Mauricio Taricco is still some way off.
Now the unlucky Oyvind Leonhardsen has joined the casualty list with a painful foot injury as our fifth round FA Cup victory was achieved at a price. But the silver lining provided by the younger generation at White Hart Lane keeps us buoyant.
Their ability, enthusiasm and optimism has sustained and helped us maintain progress at crucial times. There is no doubt that there is a lot of emerging talent here at the Lane that really augers well for our future.
Simon Davies is the latest to impress and he's level-headed enough to realise that, despite his two well-taken goals against Stockport, he still has a good deal of work to do before he is the finished product. However, he's certainly heading in the right direction and we're all delighted with his progress.
The only arena in which these youngsters can prove themselves is in the first team and it is good to see them so comfortable in that environment. Ledley King again impressed by moving back from midfield to cover at
centre-back and looked so assured there that even I am beginning to wonder about his best position.
He has done so well in midfield this season that I considered that to be his ideal role but his versatility gives you options way beyond what you would expect from a 20-year-old who is still learning the game.
Gary Doherty's versatility is there for all to see as he again played in attack and defence for us against Stockport while I was delighted to look at our back five in a defensive situation late in that game and realise that they — Sol Campbell, Ledley, Alton Thelwell, Stephen Clemence and Luke Young — are all home grown.
Now some of them will continue their education here against Leeds United who have been in Champions League action this week and where manager David O'Leary has assembled an impressive squad of depth and ability with the added strength of competition for every position.
I enjoyed my time at Elland Road and am delighted to witness their emergence as a powerful Premiership force. We were unfortunate when we lost there by the odd goal in seven in September and they are an improving side that will always be a match for anyone.
I am looking to our players to put in a comprehensive and convincing display this afternoon because we need to enhance our Premiership position and will only do so by maintaining our current positive outlook.