Stevenage vs Tottenham – Match preview and prediction

Forty seven places divide League One side Stevenage with Premier League title contenders Tottenham Hotspur, but Boro boss Gary Smith will be looking to usurp widely-speculated new England manager Harry Redknapp for a place in the quarter finals of the FA Cup.

Smith has successfully led his side to two victories since he replaced Graham Westley, who left the Lamex Stadium to join Preston North End. The former Arsenal scout was in charge for the fourth round tie with Notts County, where Stevenage won 1-0, and looks to be a shrewd appointment following his time with MLS side Colorado Rapids. Under Smith, Colorado won the MLS Cup and Stevenage fans will be hopeful their new manager can bring similar glory to Hertfordshire. Stevenage have no fresh injury concerns, but on-loan Arsenal midfielder Chuks Aneke misses the game due to the terms of his loan agreement. With only one loss at home this season, Broadhall Way has become somewhat of a fortress for Stevenage and Tottenham will have to break down a resilient unit to progress into the quarter-final.

Redknapp will have to perform that task without forward Rafael van der Vaart, who is still out of action with a calf problem. Tottenham’s January signings in Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen could start against the League One side with Saha in particular keen to follow up his two goal display in the 5-0 win against Newcastle last weekend. Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon are fully fit after their injury worries, but Spurs may be without Younes Kaboul as he is struggling with a knee injury. Stevenage are expected to bring a physical presence against the high-flying talents of Spurs and Redknapp’s men will have to mix their quality with toughness if they want to be in the hat for the last eight.

Stevenage have lost just once in their last 20 games and have yet to concede a goal in the FA Cup this season following four games. Tottenham have also been sturdy in defence and have shut-out their opponents in their two FA Cup fixtures before Sunday’s outing. The flair and class of Redknapp’s side should shine through in a sold-out Lamex Stadium, but not without a dogged and determined fight from Stevenage.

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