- (Photo: Reuters/Eddie Keogh)
Tottenham Hotspurs hosts Reading at White Hart Lane on New Year's Day as the Spurs look to keep pace with the league leaders.
Spurs manager Andre Villa-Boas will have to overcome the absence of Gareth Bale when his side takes on lowly Reading. Bale received his fifth yellow card, which some have considered to be controversial after the striker was booked for diving.
Bale was shown his third yellow card of the season for simulation in Saturday's win at Sunderland, which was his fifth domestic caution overall, leading to his 1-match suspension for this Premier League game.
Andre Villa-Boas and Spurs currently seem to be strong contenders to finish in the top four this season, having won six times in their last seven league games.
Spurs will have to lean on striker Jermaine Defoe, who is the club's leading scorer with 14, after American international Clint Dempsey re-aggravated a groin injury and will be unavailable. Benoit Assou-Ekotto is also recovering from injury.
However, Scott Parker could make another substitute appearance and Tom Huddlestone will be available from the bench.
For Reading and manager Brian McDermott, their focus is squarely on advancing out of the relegating zone and are likely to use the same starting line-up for the third straight game running.
Reading has managed to come away with four points from their previous two Premier League matches and McDermott looks to keep the same side that has looked strong recently.
One bright spot for Reading is the fact that defender Sean Morrison was on the bench for Saturday's win over West Ham, which was the first win in nine matches, after recovering from an ankle injury. Unfortunately, Jason Roberts is out for the match along with Alex McCarthy, who will be a long-term absentee.
Kickoff for the match is at 10:00 a.m. and can be watched online here.