Spurs: AVB Rotates Well, But Must Beware This Potential Banana Skin

Third in the Premiership and showing no signs of slowing, resting the key starters of the first team is vital in the latter stages of the season. While Coventry will be no pushover, it's as a good a time as any to blood in a number of academy stars.
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Third in the Premiership and showing no signs of slowing, resting the key starters of the first team is vital in the latter stages of the season. While Coventry will be no pushover, it's as a good a time as any to blood in a number of academy stars.

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It's quite enjoyable being a Tottenham Hotspur fan at present. A successful festive period, culminated in the club taking 10 points from a possible 12 following wins over Aston Villa, Sunderland and Reading, all of which came after a 0-0 stalemate with Stoke City last month.

The results leave Spurs in third place following the hectic winter schedule after Chelsea succumbed to a shock defeat to West London rivals Queen's Park Rangers. Nevertheless, it's time to move away from Premier League duties and focus upon the return of the FA Cup.

Andre Villas-Boas' side have enjoyed a particularly loving relationship with the illustrious competition since its inception in 1871, picking up trophy eight times – the third highest behind Manchester United and bitter rivals Arsenal – since their 1901 win, still holding the record for being the only non-league team to do so since the formation of the Football League.

Last season saw the club come close to reaching the final in Wembley once again, only to fall foul to a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea in the semi-final during the disheartening end to Harry Redknapp's campaign at Spurs.

Unsurprisingly, the club are expected to challenge for the FA Cup once again this season as Villas-Boas looks to end the five year, and counting, wait to land silverware, having won the Carling Cup, now the Capital One Cup, back in 2008 during Juande Ramos' reign of terror in North London.

As many a supporter will tell you, the game itself is about glory and the chance to pick up the trophy for the first time since 1995 is one that will appeal to any side. Villas-Boas has continuously hinted he is prepared to take each cup competition seriously, such have been his team selections in the Capital One Cup and Europa League, and the FA Cup is set to be no different.

While the potential for an upset is certainly on the cards, so is the opportunity to give those impressing in the youth ranks. Ask any fan who pays particularly close attention to the academy at White Hart Lane and they'll be quick to point out the hotbed of talent emerging through the squad.

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The likes of Ryan Mason, Tom Carroll and Andros Townsend have continuously won the plaudits from near and far, such is their capability for players their age.

All of whom have impressed when called upon during over the domestic season and Europa League. Following the increase in competitive action over recent weeks, now is as good a time as any for Villas-Boas to rest a number of his regular first-team stars.

Jermain Defoe, Sandro, Mousa Dembele and Aaron Lennon, to name four, have featured regularly over the last quartet of games and with the action coming thick and fast, it's essential these four, to name a few, are adequately rested in order to avoid burnout, much like last season.

Villas-Boas does have an impressive array of talent lurking in and around the senior squad, all of which it could be argued warrant the chance to showcase their capabilities to the 35-year-old. While it's vital to avoid an upset early on, utilising the squad will only bolster their top credentials later in the season.

Redknapp was previously criticised for his lack of rotation and it was no surprise to see Tottenham Hotspurs' form suffer detrimentally over the last two seasons as a result, such was his apprehensiveness to call upon his squad members.

Villas-Boas has shown time and time again that he is happy to rotate the personnel available to him and while it's important that victory is secured at White Hart Lane on Saturday, giving the opportunities to his younger stars should also be enough to pick up the win and progress to the next round.