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Saturday, 11 December, 1999, 13:45 GMT
Graham plays down big gun battle

Spurs trip to Newcastle a fortnight ago was controversial


Click here for Saturday's football results.


The highlight of Sunday's FA Cup action is the only all-Premiership tie of the round, although Liverpool face a tough trip to the Nationwide League leaders Huddersfield.

But it is Tottenham versus Newcastle which will capture most attention, not least because of the St James' Park meeting two weeks ago which saw Spurs' players Tim Sherwood and David Ginola reported to the police.



There are a few fans who I call `professional whingers' because they are never satisfied
George Graham
It is also a repeat of last season's controversial semi-final, a tale of two handballs at Old Trafford.

Mapgpies defender Nikos Dabizas got away with handling in the Spurs area, before Sol Campbell was penalised for the same offence at the other end.

Home advantage offers Spurs a chance to gain revenge for the 2-0 defeat which denied them a second Wembley appearance last season.

Both clubs are out of the Worthington and Uefa Cups, and are off the Premiership pace, so the losers will face the prospect of a trophy-less season before Christmas.

But Spurs boss George Graham insists: "This game is not crucial."

He has criticised Tottenham fans complaining about a lack of big money signings as "professional whingers" and prefers to take a long-term view.



We're still on a good run
Newcastle's Robert Lee after Thursday's Uefa Cup exit
"As long as I am progressing and the team is getting better, that is the main thing," said the Scot.

"To finish in the top six and qualify for Europe would be the real achievement.

"To look solely at the FA Cup lacks ambition. It is nice to win a cup, but let's look at the big prize."

Spurs will be without suspended duo Sherwood and Mauricio Taricco, offering opportunities to Justin Edinburgh and either Allan Nielsen or Stephen Clemence.

Newcastle come into the game having outplayed Spurs in the 2-1 league win a fortnight ago, when Dabizas added to Spurs' misery with the winning goal.

But they must also get over their demoralising European exit at the hands of Roma on Thursday.

"We didn't lose against Roma, which is another plus point," said midfielder Robert Lee.


Dabizas: Escaped a handball last season, scored two weeks ago
"We're still on a good run and all the lads are going into the game on Sunday very confident.

"Tim Sherwood is an international player and it's a good thing he's not playing.

"It will certainly weaken them, but we've got Nolberto Solano missing and he's very good from set plays for us."

Solano is suspended and defender Franck Dumas could be out for up to eight weeks after fracturing and dislocating his elbow on Thursday night.

Striker Kevin Gallacher is available after a hamstring injury, while Duncan Ferguson and Kieron Dyer are both available despite a lack of match fitness.


Huddersfield v Liverpool

If the White Hart Lane match is the third round's only all-Premiership tie, the McAlpine Stadium will host the next best thing.

The Terriers are flying high in the first division, and enjoy a one-point lead at the top of the league.

Like Spurs, Liverpool had an Old Trafford nightmare in last year's cup, with a 1-0 lead turning to 2-1 defeat in the closing stages against Manchester United.


Huddersfield striker Marcus Stewart
Manager Gerard Houllier admits he has still to get over the disappointment, and wants his players to banish those memories on Sunday.

"Last year we were very unlucky to go out of the Cup the way we did," he said.

"It was a real downer for us because we played well. We deserved more than what we got from that game."

Liverpool will be without Jamie Redknapp and Patrik Berger, but should have Vladimir Smicer back in the squad, although David Thompson is suspended.

Michael Owen will continue up front despite poor form, Robbie Fowler's return towards full fitness and Titi Camara's spectacular performances.

The game offers Huddersfield skipper Kenny Irons an opportunity to fulfil a childhood dream, because the Merseysider and former Tranmere player is "blue through and through".

"I've supported Everton all my life," confirmed Irons. "My dad once told me the first word out of my mouth was Everton, so it just so happened I ended up going to watch them."

Town have already beaten Chelsea in the Worthington Cup this season before losing to Wimbledon in extra time.

But on Sunday they will be without the injured Chris Beech and former Blackburn winger George Donis.


Leeds v Port Vale

Leeds have no fresh injuries from their Uefa Cup victory over Spartak Moscow but David Batty is rated only 50-50 for a return after a calf injury.

Vale boss Brian Horton will be without suspended pair Dave Brammer and Matthew Carragher.


Chester v Man City

Manchester City's new signing Robert Taylor is cup-tied for Joe Royle's side, who have lost three successive league games.

Gareth Taylor is likely to partner Shaun Goater up front.

The league's bottom club, Chester could welcome back Yugoslavian centre-back Goran Milovaijevic from a hamstring injury.

He has not been played since the FA Cup second round win at Stalybridge Celtic three weeks ago.


Sheff Utd v Rushden & D'monds

Non-league pace-setters Rushden took Leeds to a replay last season and could provide a stiff test for the struggling Blades.

The Sheffield club have skipper Lee Sandford and Belgium international defender Davy Gysbrechts suspended.

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See also:
15 Apr 99 |  FA Cup
Shearer puts Newcastle in final
28 Nov 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
Spurs shot down by Dabizas
29 Nov 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
Police to report Ginola to FA
Links to other FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.