BOLTON, January 30 – Harry Redknapp's Tottenham side face Bolton this weekend targeting back-to-back league victories for only the second time this season to haul themselves clear of the Premier League relegation zone.
The midweek win over Stoke was the first time Spurs had claimed three points at home for two months and was enough to move them clear of the bottom three.
Such is the congestion at the foot of the table that Redknapp’s men now find themselves in 13th position after starting the week level on points with bottom club West Bromwich Albion.
edknapp knows victory at the Reebok Stadium against a Bolton side in freefall will completely change the complexion of Spurs’ season. The manager has made no secret of his desire to overhaul his playing staff and last week described his current squad as a "mish-mash".
But the recent fightback against Portsmouth and the performance against struggling Stoke has given cause for optimism, particularly in the resurgent form of summer signings Luka Modric and David Bentley, and the displays of Jermain Defoe following his return to the club this month.
With Wilson Palacios now on board following his £14m move from Wigan, Claudio Cudicini in goal after arriving from Chelsea, and Pascal Chimbonda set to make his second debut for the club at Bolton after an ill-starred spell at Sunderland, Redknapp’s squad is beginning to take shape.
Should he succeed in his plans to bring in another striker – possibly Liverpool’s Robbie Keane – before the closure of the transfer window, the manager’s claim that he wants the club to challenge for a Champions League place sooner rather than later will not sound so far-fetched.
"I’d love to win trophies and try to compete for a Champions League position," said Redknapp.
"Basically, the dream is to make Tottenham a terrific team once again. But it’s very, very difficult because the ‘big four’ are so powerful.
"I think you’ll now see Manchester City pushing on and challenging because of all the money they’ve got. Even breaking into that top four, Everton did it one year and Aston Villa are up there challenging this season but it’s tough.
"But I love the game. I keep taking on these big challenges and this is another one. It’s a big job to do."
Redknapp’s optimism is mirrored by Gary Megson’s gloom after his Bolton side tossed away a two-goal lead against local rivals Blackburn this week and with it the chance to claim a first win in six games.
The Wanderers manager bore the brunt of the club’s supporters frustrations and admitted that the unease around the club was now beginning to impact on the player’s performances.
The draw against Blackburn came on the back of crushing single-goal defeats to Arsenal and Manchester United when Megson’s side conceded in the final moments of both games.
But the manager has made it his side need more backing if they are to halt the slide that has positioned them one point and one place below Spurs, "The reaction was astounding and I am disappointed," Megson said.
"I’ve had to cope with it for a long time. I don’t like it, it’s pathetic, and I believe it is having an adverse effect on the team’s performance."
"As a football club and as a dressing room, we have to try to keep that negativity away from what we need to try and do.
He added: "We’re having to cope with this atmosphere which is hostile and very, very difficult for everyone."