Premier League - Spurs suffer Kaboul setback

Tottenham's bid for a top-four finish has taken a blow with the news that defender Younes Kaboul may not be fit until the end of February.

Kaboul emerged as arguably Tottenham's best centre-half after a series of confident displays last year, but he has not kicked a ball this term after suffering a knee injury in pre-season.

It had been hoped that the France centre-back would be fit for the start of 2013 but assistant manager Steffen Freund confirmed on Thursday that the 26-year-old could have to wait at least six weeks before he is available for selection.

"He's on a six-week programme from the medical staff and starting to work now with the fitness coaches," Freund told a press conference.

"It's difficult to say now which game he will be back but hopefully mid or end of February."

Although Spurs sit fourth in the Premier League, Kaboul's confidence and leadership would help eradicate the problem of conceding late goals which has cost Andre Villas-Boas' men dearly this term.

Freund is therefore looking forward to having the Frenchman back in the ranks next month.

"He's a really important part of Tottenham," the German said. "He has a lot of leadership qualities and we are waiting to have him back as quickly as possible.

"He is frustrated. He likes to be involved - especially when you are successful."

Freund did offer some good news from the treatment room, however. Left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who has not played since September, is fit to start Saturday's FA Cup third-round clash against Coventry.