Tottenham Hotspur-West Brom Preview
LONDON (SE) - West Bromwich Albion will hope to put the distractions of the Peter Odemwingie affair behind them when they entertain Tottenham Hotspur at The Hawthorns on Sunday.
Both squads will be largely unchanged from their first meeting of the season after little significant activity during the transfer window.
Rather than the players they acquired, it was the players each side kept hold of that created most headlines on transfer deadline day.
Spurs might have been expecting to retain the services of Gareth Bale and Gylfi Sigurdsson, but it was the strange case of Peter Odemwingie that may live longer in the memory that most competed transfers.
After spending much of the week bashing the Baggies on his twitter account, Odemwingie then attempted to engineer a deal with Queens Park Rangers on deadline day. Despite there being no agreement in place between the clubs, Odemwingie turned up at QPR's Loftus Road ground where he was forced to sit it out in his car as QPR refused to speak with him out of respect for West Brom.
The Nigerian forward arrived back at the Baggies' training ground on Friday morning, but was sent home by the club after a meeting. West Brom (10-4-10) manager Steve Clarke confirmed that the player did not have permission to speak with QPR.
"He had no permission at the time to go," said Clarke "He thinks at some stage in the day a deal will be agreed. There was a moment when I thought a deal would be agreed.
"It's total lunacy because he didn't have permission to speak to QPR."
Clarke also confirmed that Odemwingie would miss the Spurs game.
"Peter is not in right frame of mind to face Spurs this weekend. It's in the best interests of other players that he's not involved. Peter will return to training when we decide it is right. There is a disciplinary process in place to deal with Peter and it will be conducted privately."
Spurs (12-6-6) manager Andre Villas Boas did manage to secure Schalke's Lewis Holtby late in the transfer window ahead of the previously agreed summer transfer. The highly-rated German youngster made an immediate impact in his debut as a substitute on Wednesday night in the 1-1 draw with Norwich City.
"Our intention was always to bring in players that could improve us and Lewis certainly falls into this category," Villas Boas told the club website. "We were pleased that we were able to bring his transfer forward.
"He is young, extremely talented and can play a number of different roles across the midfield. We saw a glimpse of the impact he can have against Norwich, finding holes in behind and linking the game well for the team."
Tom Huddlestone returns to the squad for Tottenham who will be missing Sandro and Younes Kaboul through knee injuries. Emmanuel Adebayor is still on international duty with Togo at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Youssouf Mulumbu is a doubt for West Brom after picking up a knee injury on international duty with DR Congo. George Thorne and Zoltan Gera are out with long-term injuries for the Baggies but Steven Reid has returned to training and may be available.
In the corresponding fixture last season Mulumbu gave West Brom the lead before Adebayor scored either side of a Jermain Defoe goal to help Spurs run out 3-1 winners. When the sides met at White Hart Lane in August James Morrison scored a 90th-minute equaliser to cancel out Benoit Assou Ekotto's late goal.
Spurs are unbeaten against the Baggies in six going back to a 2-0 loss in December 2008 and have only lost on two of their last 10 visits to West Brom.