Ramos facing defensive crisis

Spurs struggling in build up to derby date

Ramos: Could be without six defenders

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Juande Ramos' defensive problems have intensified with the news that Ledley King has not trained for a fortnight.

Spurs have already seen Didier Zokora's appeal for the red card he picked up against Manchester City in the Carling Cup rejected, and Ricardo Rocha and Michael Dawson are both struggling to be fit in time for Saturday's derby against Arsenal.

Full-backs Gareth Bale and Benoit Assou-Ekotto are long-term absentees and will definitely miss the trip to Emirates, meaning Ramos will be forced into compiling a makeshift defence for a vital encounter.

Club captain King was believed to be recovering well from his recent knee surgery after making his comeback for the reserves earlier this month, and traveling with the squad for last Saturday's 1-0 win at Portsmouth. However, the news that he has not yet returned to training suggests that he is still some way off making a first-team return.

Difficult

"He's gone two weeks without training because he is injured," said Ramos.

"He started feeling the knocks in the Fulham reserve game.

"Footballers get injured but, for us at the moment, they all seem to be defenders. It's difficult to take but you have to accept it."

Violence

Preparing for his first taste of the North London derby, Ramos insists that his last experience of a derby game (Sevilla against Real Betis) when he got hit by a bottle thrown from the crowd will not prey on his mind.

"I've forgotten about it," he said.

"It didn't affect my confidence. The following week I was on the touchline

"I hope it never happens again on a football pitch."

"It's something that happens in all countries and not just England, people will throw insults at their opponents.

"As long as it doesn't involve violence then that is something normal.

"I have a slight advantage over everyone else because I don't know what they are saying! It's not going to bother me in the slightest."