Spurs turn to Dempsey following QPR shut-out

LONDON (AFP) - Andre Villas-Boas is convinced Tottenham Hotspur can maintain their Premier League challenge without striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

Adebayor left to join up with Togo ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations immediately after appearing in the 0-0 draw against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Saturday.

His departure leaves Villas-Boas with just one recognised striker, Jermain Defoe, but the Spurs boss is confident his squad can cope thanks to the presence of goal-scoring midfielder Clint Dempsey. "We went through a period without Adebayor through injury and suspension and Clint did extremely well with Defoe. It was one of the good link-ups we had through the season," the Spurs manager said. 

"So he is a player we trust a lot. He always comes strong in the team and scored three goals in the last two games before this. "He is always a goal-scorer, one of our highest goal-scorers, so we believe in him." However, an injury to either Defoe or Dempsey during Adebayor's absence would leave Spurs short of forward options.

And Villas-Boas added: "We are aware (of what might happen), but it is still very early in January and the market is open for some time. If we need to move, we can." It looked as though the Tottenham manager might also be denied the services of Sandro when the midfielder was forced out of the QPR clash midway through the first half with a knee injury.

But he said: "Sandro should be fine. He got a knock on the knee. He thought there was ligament damage - that's why he came off - but he looks OK and he will have a scan." The draw meant Rangers followed up their surprise victory at Chelsea with a another clean sheet and a point against top-four opposition, and manager Harry Redknapp believes his side's improved form will help him secure his January transfer targets.

The club remain in the relegation zone but Redknapp hopes the signs of recovery will make a move to Loftus Road more attractive.

He confirmed after the game that he is about to sign Tottenham midfielder Jake Livermore on loan, while the club have also approached West Bromwich Albion about Nigerian striker Peter Odemwingie.

And Redknapp was due to fly out to France after Saturday's draw to watch Rennes, with midfielder Yann M'Vila a prime target.

He said: "We need to strengthen the squad. We are short in certain areas.

There are games we need to open up and try to win. We need to improve the attacking options.

"We are doing a deal to take Jake Livermore on loan. I like him, he is a good young player, it will be good experience for him.

"I like Odemwingie and Philip Beard, the chief executive, made an offer. I said I like him and if there was any chance, if they were prepared to sell him, so he's made an enquiry, but I'm not sure where it's gone." He added: "I'm going to watch a game in Rennes. There are a lot of good players on show. And I am going to a game tomorrow (Sunday). I'm looking at players to see if there is anything to improve us."

Fulham are also interested in M'Vila and Redknapp added: "He's an interesting player. I tried to sign him for Tottenham. He's a player I probably watched five or six times in the last 18 months.

"There will be clubs interested him. It's difficult when you are at the bottom, it's harder to attract players to your club.

"But people might look at the last couple of games and think there is still a chance for QPR. It might be an exciting end of season and a challenge they might want to take up."