We pick out three key clashes that could determine Hearts' Europa League tie with Tottenham.
Last Updated: 18/08/11 11:16am
Tottenham travel to Tynecastle for the first leg of their Europa League play-off against Hearts on Thursday evening. Here, skysports.com look at the key battles that could decide the outcome of the Battle of Britain clash in Edinburgh.
MARIUS ZALIUKAS v PETER CROUCH
Hearts captain and central defender Zaliukas is the team talisman, but has a tendency to wander out of position and will have to be on his guard against Crouch, who worked well in tandem with Rafael van der Vaart up front last season. The beanpole front-man will be desperate to impress as the purported arrival of Emmanuel Adebayor could see him pushed further down the pecking order. Crouch excelled last season in the UEFA Champions League but Hearts will be more accustomed to dealing with strikers of his ilk than many of their European counterparts.
ANDREW DRIVER v GARETH BALE
Driver is a tricky winger who played for England Under 21s but is on the verge of full Scotland honours - and might have had them already had injury not hampered his last two seasons. He has regularly been linked with a switch to England and should he catch the eye against Spurs may attract interest before the close of the transfer window. He will aim to keep the rampaging Bale on the back foot at Tynecastle after the Welshman made a full recovery from injury. After a blistering first half of the season last term Bale faded somewhat as injury and fatigue both played their part.
JOHN SUTTON v MICHAEL DAWSON
Sutton, a former Spurs trainee, scored twice in Hearts' win over Aberdeen and is a physical threat and the focal point of the Edinburgh side's attack. A not dissimilar player to his older brother Chris, Sutton could pose the odd problem given the right service. Spurs skipper Dawson will require all of his experience to keep him quiet, with Harry Redknapp likely to be demanding a clean sheet in Tottenham's first competitive game of the season.