TEAM NEWS: Bale starts & Assou-Ekotto returns in strong Tottenham team to face Coventry

Andre Villas-Boas has opted to recall the Wales international against the League One side after he missed Tuesday's win over Reading through suspension
Andre Villas-Boas has named a strong starting XI for Tottenham's FA Cup third round clash with Coventry at White Hart Lane, despite making eight changes from the team that beat Reading 3-1 on New Year's Day.

Gareth Bale returns to the first-team following his one-game suspension, but Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe drop to the bench as Villas-Boas shuffles his pack.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto makes his long awaited return to action following a knee injury that has kept him sidelined since Spurs' 1-1 draw at home with Norwich on September 1. Meanwhile 41-year-old Brad Friedel is given his first start since the 3-1 over Panathinaikos, replacing Hugo Lloris in goal.

Scott Parker, his first start since May, and Tom Huddlestone anchor a midfield that sees both summer signings Gylfi Sigurdsson and Clint Dempsey operate behind Emmanuel Adebayor.

The visitors make four changes to the team that lost 1-0 at home to Shrewsbury on Tuesday as Jordon Clarke, Leon Clarke, Franck Moussa and James Bailey come into the side looking for a repeat of their heroics in the 1987 final.

Tottenham starting XI: Friedel, Naughton, Caulker, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto, Parker, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Bale, Dempsey, Adebayor
Subs: Subs: Lloris, Vertonghen, Dembele, Townsend, Carroll, Lennon, Defoe

Coventry starting XI: Murphy; J Clarke, Wood, Edjenguele, Adams; McSheffrey, Baker, Jennings, Bailey, Moussa; L Clarke.
Subs: Dunn, Cameron, Fleck, Elliott, Barton, Christie, Thomas