FA Cup: Predicted Spurs XI v Portsmouth

Attention turns to the FA Cup third round on Saturday afternoon as Tottenham Hotspur welcome League One outfit Portsmouth to north London.

Antonio Conte’s side will be buoyed by their emphatic 4-0 win over Crystal Palace in midweek and this encounter against managerless Pompey could hand the Italian head coach a rare opportunity to rotate his key players.

Will Spurs advance into the fourth round?

YES!

YES!

NO!

NO!

His hands will be somewhat tied but they face arch-rivals Arsenal, defending champions Manchester City twice and AC Milan in the Champions League in the coming weeks.

With that in mind, here’s what we’re predicting ahead of the lunchtime kick-off…

There could be as many as seven changes from Wednesday night with Conte looking to rotate as much as he can.

In goal, club captain Hugo Lloris could make way for his backup Fraser Forster, who deputised in the defeat to Aston Villa after the Frenchman made a late return from the World Cup, whilst in front of him, only Eric Dier remains.

He’ll be joined by Davinson Sanchez and Ben Davies, with the Italian opting for youth in midfield and on the flanks – Ryan Sessegnon is likely to start ahead of veteran Ivan Perisic and Djed Spence may be afforded a rare chance to impress over Matt Doherty or Emerson Royal.

Yves Bissouma is expected to return from his one-game suspension, taking the place of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and with Rodrigo Bentancur still injured, he could be partnered with Pape Matar Sarr, who has caught the eye with a couple of cameos from the bench in recent weeks.

The Senegal international “in the style of [Paul] Pogba” – who was also dubbed a “fantastic talent” with “real potential” by Fabrizio Romano – may also be preferred as fellow young talent Oliver Skipp started in midweek but he has only just returned from his own injury troubles.

Conte is then left with a sticky situation in attack as the majority of his depth options are on the treatment table.

Brazilian duo Lucas Moura and Richarlison are definite absentees, whilst Dejan Kulusevski missed another game with a lingering problem, so he may not be risked again ahead of a crucial set of matches.

It means Harry Kane will have to start alongside Heung-min Son and Bryan Gil for the third successive game.

AND in other news, Spurs in talks to sign Conte’s perfect Deki alternative in £52m “generational talent”…