West Brom-Tottenham Hotspur Preview

The Associated Press

Tottenham Hotspur will play for the first time since making the bold move of appointing the inexperienced Tim Sherwood as head coach when they welcome West Bromwich Albion to White Hart Lane on Boxing Day.

The 44-year-old Englishman had not previously managed a team until being moved from his technical coordinator job at Tottenham to become interim manager last Monday. He is now in charge until the end of next season.

It has been a mixed week for Sherwood, whose first match saw Spurs beaten in the League Cup by West Ham on Wednesday before he oversaw a 3-2 victory at Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday.

The win took Tottenham just six points behind leader Liverpool with the best away record in the Premier League, showing the potential in a team that has been reconstructed following the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in the summer transfer window.

After several leading managers ruled themselves out of taking the job, chairman Daniel Levy has gambled by entrusting the club's top coaching job to a novice.

''We were extremely reluctant to make a change mid-season, but felt we had to do so in the club's best interests,'' Levy said. ''We have a great squad and we owe them a head coach who will bring out the best in them and allow them to flourish and enjoy a strong, exciting finish to the season.''

Sherwood played for the club between 1999-2003 and also worked at White Hart Lane under Harry Redknapp.

"It's an honour to be Head Coach of this top club. It's a club that means an awful lot to me," Sherwood told Tottenham's official website. "I've known it from the grass roots right up to the first team, worked at every level of the football club and played here, so I know it better than most."

This match features Premier League sides that account for the latest managerial casualties.

West Bromwich Albion sacked Steve Clarke on Dec. 14 two days before Andre Villas-Boas was given the pink slip at White Hart Lane.

The Baggies got an equaliser from Matej Vydra in the 86th minute in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Hull City Tigers. It marked caretaker manager Keith Downing's first home game in charge.

West Brom ended a run of four straight defeats, but remained winless in their last seven.

The Baggies are in 16th place on 16 points - three above the drop.

"We've slipped down the table but with all the games coming up it can change very quickly," striker Shane Long told West Brom's official website. "The sooner it changes for us the better because it will take that pressure of ourselves and we can play a bit more freely on the pitch and pick up results more easily."

Sherwood dusted off Emmanuel Adebayor, giving the Togo international his first start Sunday and second appearance of the season. Adebayor scored twice in a 4-4-2 alongside Roberto Soldado.

''We all know he's a top player,'' Sherwood said. ''He doesn't need any motivating to go and play now because he's not played for a long time. He's a top player and is certainly warranting his place in the team at the moment ... I've not had to gee him up.

This will be Spurs' first league match at White Hart Lane since a 5-0 mauling at the hands of Liverpool on Dec. 15 - the day before Villas-Boas was sacked.

Brazilian international Paulinho is eligible to return from suspension for Spurs.

West Brom have four defeats and three draws in seven visits to the Lane.

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