Tottenham - Fulham Preview: Magath turns to Holtby for secret to stopping Spurs

The on-loan midfielder is ineligible to play against his parent club on Saturday but the Cottagers boss has consulted him over ways to help them to another step away from the drop
Fulham manager Felix Magath believes Lewis Holtby could hold the key against Tottenham, despite having a watching brief only for the Premier League clash.

Magath has masterminded back-to-back wins over Aston Villa and Norwich City in the Cottagers' last two outings to give the west London club a chance of top-flight survival that appeared to have passed them by.

17/2 Fulham are 17/2 with Paddy Power to beat Tottenham as both score
On-loan Spurs midfielder Holtby impressed in both those triumphs but is ineligible to face his parent club - though that has not stopped Magath from picking his brains ahead of Saturday's trip to White Hart Lane.

The ex-Bayern Munich coach admitted to consulting John Heitinga over strategy before taking on the defender's former club, Everton, in March and the German feels comfortable with the notion of teams trying to gain any advantage they can, amid controversy swirling around Crystal Palace allegedly obtaining Cardiff City's line-up before their meeting on April 5.

"I always ask the players - John Heitinga against Everton and now Lewis against Tottenham," Magath told the press.

"Sure, I ask Lewis how he sees the situation, how a certain player is, but it is not the only one kind of information I will get. I try to get all the information I can get.

"You try to get any information you can get. I'll try also to get any information from Tottenham for Saturday. I think Tottenham will also try to get information from us; you cannot blame anyone for trying to get information. If you are lucky, you can, so it is good."

Guessing Tottenham's starting XI may not require too much work, though, as manager Tim Sherwood continues to grapple with a lengthy injury list.

Mousa Dembele is set to return from a hip problem to play a part against his former employers but fellow midfielder Etienne Capoue (ankle), forward Roberto Soldado (hamstring) and defensive trio Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Kyle Walker (groin) and Michael Dawson (hamstring) all remain on the sidelines.

Another man who will miss out once more is club-record signing Erik Lamela. The Argentina international, billed as Tottenham's ready-made replacement for Gareth Bale, has endured a nightmare first season in England due to back and thigh injuries.

Recent reports have suggested that Sherwood, who will leave Tottenham in the close-season, is under pressure from the club's hierarchy to give Lamela some game time before the campaign is out - something which the 45-year-old insists is not viable.

"There'll be no chance Erik's fit," he declared to reporters. "I read in the paper, or someone told me, that the hierarchy here are asking for him to get more opportunities.

"Chance would be a fine thing, he's injured. I haven't seen enough of him. He's never been fit."