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Aston Villa-Tottenham Hotspur Preview
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp may return to the touchline after heart surgery when Spurs host Aston Villa at White Hart Lane on Monday evening.
Redknapp has sat out the last few weeks, but assistant Joe Jordan revealed his boss may be well enough to attend the Villa game. Jordan then went on to credit Redknapp with Tottenham's excellent start to the season.
"To bring players in is important and we did that," said Jordan. "After we did that you looked at the team and we had a balance and you see what the manager wanted to do.
"What you can see is an improvement in the squad and the team. And what I think we are demonstrating is we have a chance of fulfilling the ambitions of individual players which is to get in the Champions League. The fans love it, I love it. But more than anything else the players want to play at the top level and be playing, say, Real Madrid and Milan."
A return to White Hart Lane will be a painful experience for visiting manager Alex McLeish, who saw his Birmingham side relegated at the north London ground on the final day of last season before controversially moving to Villa.
"We played a great game that day," reminisced the Scot. "I just think events conspired against us and maybe in the previous weeks, the damage was done. Spurs scored a late goal but only because we threw the kitchen sink at them at the end and left the back door open because we needed a win.
"If we had only needed a draw, we would have achieved that without any problem. It was very sad considering a cup was won three months before that but circumstances conspired against us. After the final, we never saw four or five players for the rest of the season and, when you lose a bit of quality from your team that makes it harder.
"I've got good memories at White Hart Lane as well - my first game as Birmingham manager was a 3-2 win there - but that day in May rankles as one of the worst of my career. Now I'm at Villa and we will look to get a positive result at White Hart Lane."
Tottenham are hopeful of Rafael van der Vaart (hamstring), Vedran Corluka (ankle) and William Gallas (calf) shaking off knocks, but Michael Dawson (Achilles) and Tom Huddlestone (ankle) remain out.
On-loan Jermaine Jenas is ineligible to face parent club Spurs, but Villa may be able to call upon Gabriel Agbonlahor and Stiliyan Petrov after hamstring injuries.
Tottenham won both of the matches against Villa 2-1 last season, with van der Vaart scoring all four goals. This game comes after Spurs' best ever start to a Premier League season, with the Lilywhites picking up 22 points from a possible 24 after defeats to the Manchester clubs in the opening two games of the season.
Villa haven't won in their last five away games in the Premier League - losing four of them - and Monday's visitors have managed just one clean sheet in their last 21 top-fight games on the road.
Updated November 19, 2011