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Kaboul return put back to end of February

ESPN staff
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Younes Kaboul has a knee problem © PA Photos
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Tottenham have been hit by the news that defender Younes Kaboul may not be fit until the end of February after a setback in his recovery from a pre-season knee injury.

Kaboul, 28, has not kicked a ball this term and has had to watch from the sidelines as Andre Villas-Boas' men have conceded a host of late goals which have cost them dearly in the race for the title.

It had been hoped that the France centre-back would be fit for the start of 2013 but assistant manager Steffen Freund confirmed on Thursday that the 28-year-old could have to wait at least six weeks before he is available for selection.

"He's on a six-week programme from the medical staff and starting to work now with the fitness coaches,'' Freund told a press conference. "It's difficult to say now which game he will be back but hopefully mid- or end of February.''

Although Spurs sit third in the Premier League, Kaboul is a big miss and Freund is looking forward to having him back in the ranks next month.

"He's a really important part of Tottenham,'' Freund added. "He has a lot of leadership qualities and we are waiting to have him back as quickly as possible. He is frustrated. He likes to be involved - especially when you are successful.''

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