Harry Redknapp has backed Jermain Defoe to fill the void left by Emmanuel Adebayor's absence as Tottenham look to blow the Barclays Premier League title race wide open with victory in Sunday's hotly-anticipated showdown at Manchester City.
The terms of Adebayor's loan deal from City mean he is ineligible to play in the game, so Redknapp has been left with no other choice but to put Defoe alongside Van der Vaart - a combination that has rarely worked since the Dutchman signed from Real Madrid two years ago.
Defoe is becoming increasingly unhappy at his lack of game time this season, but Redknapp has no doubt that the 29-year-old will rise to the occasion and combine well with Van der Vaart.
The 64-year-old said: "I went to Villa last season and played Defoe and Rafa and we won 2-0. Defoe got sent off that day, but I quite fancy Defoe's movement with Rafa.
"Jermain has been bursting for a chance to get back in and play so he has got the opportunity now.
"We have to play good football in to them, though. We can't be hitting long forward balls up to Defoe expecting him to win challenges with their central defenders."