LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur and Everton will both be hoping to reignite their stuttering seasons when the English top-flight duo meet in the fourth round of the League Cup at White Hart Lane here on Tuesday.
Spurs started the campaign in electrifying form but a 1-0 home defeat against Stoke on Saturday has tempered dreams of a top four finish and increased the importance of the League Cup to the north London club.
Everton's injury-ravaged squad were humiliated in Portugal in last week's Europa League fixture, going down 5-0 to Benfica, and then were cruelly beaten late on by Bolton in a five-goal encounter in the Premier League on Sunday.
Toffees captain Phil Neville has criticised the scheduling of Tuesday's game, claiming it doesn't give Everton enough time for much needed recovery.
"The fact that we're playing on Tuesday is nothing short of a disgrace," Neville told the BBC.
"Somebody, somewhere is probably sat in their office not bothered about the fact we want to win the League Cup but that is something we can't control," the former Manchester United player added.
"We've handled situations like this in the past. When the chips are down and our backs are to the wall and people are writing us off, that's when this club gels together."
Everton manager David Moyes will see the League Cup as his team's best chance of silverware this season.
Last year's FA Cup finalists have had their small squad hugely exposed by injury with Moyes critical of his team's defence, saying they were "soft-centred at the moment".
Long-term casualties Phil Jagielka, Spanish playmaker Mikel Arteta and striker Yakubu have now been joined on the treatment table by defenders Leighton Baines and Joseph Yobo and midfielder Steven Pienaar.
Spurs manager Harry Redknapp will also be hopeful of another trip to Wembley in a competition which has proved kind to the Londoners in recent years.
The Lillywhites have won the trophy four times, most recently under the stewardship of Juande Ramos in 2008 when they beat Chelsea 2-1 in the final. They advanced to the final last season but were beaten on penalties by Manchester United.
Redknapp will hope to have the services of tricky winger Aaron Lennon at his disposal despite the England man taking himself off against Stoke, defying the wishes of his manager.
"I was hoping he could stay on but he couldn't and suddenly we were down to 10 men. We're not sure what the problem is. He just said he couldn't carry on and that was that," Redknapp said.
"I didn't give him a nudge, I just said to him we would only have 10 men and could he play on, but he said his ankle was too sore.
"I don't want to say any more, I don't want to cause an issue. It's not about England, he's got big games coming up for Tottenham," the former Portsmouth manager added.
Redknapp's team struggled to break down a resilient Stoke side in the absence of in-form striker Jermain Defoe, suspended after his sending-off against Portsmouth.
The livewire striker will be available on Tuesday but Redknapp will still be without midfielder Luka Modric, who has a fractured leg.
Redknapp, recently at the centre of mysterious rumours regarding his future at the club, expressed his hope that injury-plagued captain Ledley King would stay on at the Lane.
"Ledley is a big part of this club, as a player and a person," Redknapp said of the centre-back.
"He played 25 or whatever games last year, a good quota. If we can get 20-odd games out of him this year, then he will be more than worth his money in my opinion.
"He is a kid that has come through the youth team, a good example to everybody here, so I would want to keep him."