Team News: Tottenham Hotspur
By Kevin Affleck
Ignacio Pussetto is in contention to play some part against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday after impressing Head Coach Nigel Pearson with his attitude and application during his first few days at the club.
The 24-year-old arrived on Tuesday, signing a four-and-a-half-year deal, and the fact he has already played 14 times for Udinese this season, including nearly half an hour against Sassuolo on Sunday, means Pearson and the medical staff had no qualms about pitching him straight into full training on Wednesday.
He has scrubbed up well in both sessions and the Head Coach said he wouldn't think twice about including him in the 18 for the lunchtime game with José Mourinho's team.
“Probably, yes,” said Pearson when asked if he has considered naming the forward in his match-day squad. “He's fitted in very well. He's a very likeable young man. He speaks decent English and I've had a good chat with him. He's settled in very quickly and gives us options in wide areas. We've seen during recent games we've played with a lot of pace and variance in wide areas and he gives us another option there.”
Pearson last week said the return of some players from injury would feel like new signings, and he has been cheered this week by the return to training of Will Hughes, Kiko Femenía and Danny Welbeck.
“Will has done some training,” said Pearson. “He has been with us today, just modified, so won't be in contention for the weekend. Kiko has made really good progress and has trained with us to a certain extent. He's not done the entirety of the session but is making really good progress. Again, I don't see him being involved this weekend.
“Danny Welbeck continues to train very well, but it's important for him that he gets a good base level of fitness that puts him in a good place. But he looks really good and we are delighted with his progress. It's important to make sure we don't rush him back now. It's great to have him back amongst the squad and training exceptionally well.”
Tom Cleverley remains sidelined with a tear to his left Achilles and hopes to be back, at the latest, by the beginning of next month. Daryl Janmaat and Sebastian Prödl are out with knee injuries.
“Tom Cleverley is making good progress,” said Pearson. “We are getting closer. He will be out on the grass maybe tomorrow and probably next week as well. Those are good signs for us moving into a busy period and an important part of the season. It's good to get these players moving in the right direction for us. Prödl and Janmaat are still unavailable for a while but are making progress.”