Toby Alderweireld could make Spurs return in FA Cup - Mauricio Pochettino
LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino says Toby Alderweireld could return from injury in the FA Cup fourth-round clash at Newport County a week from Saturday.
The defender has been missing with a hamstring problem since the 3-1 win over Real Madrid on Nov. 1 but he will join first-team training for the first time in nearly three months this Saturday.
"I think maybe if all is OK with him today, tomorrow he can integrate himself in some exercises with the group and step by step he can build his fitness to be available again. Tomorrow -- if all is good with the scan," Pochettino told a news conference on Friday.
"That is plan -- he will do the warm-up with the team. The first exercise and then integrate gradually with the group. We'll see in the next week if he can improve step by step and be ready."
Asked if he could play at Rodney Parade against League Two Newport, Pochettino said: "Maybe, maybe. Because we are going to have all the week to train and we'll see if he can arrive in a good condition to play. We'll assess him day by day."
Spurs will be without Alderweireld, Harry Winks (ankle) and Danny Rose (knee) for Sunday's trip to Southampton, as Pochettino marks marks five years to the week since his first match in English football at his former club.
Goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris is also a doubt with illness, and Pochettino said: "I think it's a flu or a virus. It's between this. I think everyone, with this weather has struggled a little bit.
"It's an epidemic across Europe not just here in the UK," added Pochettino, who took the squad on a five-day training camp in Barcelona until Thursday.
"I don't know [if he can play]. It's difficult to say. We need to wait today and tomorrow and then assess him tomorrow and if he's available or not."
Spurs have been linked with a move for Bordeaux winger Malcom but Pochettino reiterated that he did not expect to do any transfer business this month.
"To be honest, it's difficult but at some point you always dream. But not too much exciting [is happening]. We're happy with the squad," the Spurs manager said.
When Pochettino joined Southampton in January 2013, he did not speak a word of English and he used a translator during his 18-month spell at St. Mary's.
Asked what the best thing about his five years in England has been, he said: "I was in the dark before, personally. I only spoke in Spanish but now knowing English I am seeing the world in a different perspective. I advise everyone to learn more -- not only speak your language but to add another language.
"It's very healthy and helpful," he added, checking the translation with his assistant Jesus Perez, before adding: "Only five years, eh? OK, I'm still improving."
Asked what the worst thing about England is, he said: "That we live in the dark. When you compare with Barcelona, the weather is different. It's more cloudy than sunny. In Spain, it's the opposite. That is the struggle a little bit."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.