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Dembele a doubt for Tottenham's trip to West Brom

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Football Soccer - UEFA European Championship 2016 - Belgium training session - Genk, Belgium - 02/06/16. Belgium's soccer team player Mousa Dembele poses for a photo. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Football Soccer - UEFA European Championship 2016 - Belgium training session - Genk, Belgium - 02/06/16. Belgium's soccer team player Mousa Dembele poses for a photo. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Mousa Dembele is a doubt for Saturday's Premier League trip to West Bromwich Albion after aggravating an old foot injury, manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Thursday.

The Belgium international, a key player for Pochettino last season, has featured in just two games for Tottenham in the current campaign.

He missed the first four games of the season due to suspension and injured his hamstring in his second game of the season, against Sunderland last month.

Dembele's latest setback came after his left foot was injured in training, keeping him out of Spurs' 2-0 home win over Manchester City on Oct. 2 and preventing him from representing his country during the international break.

Pochettino said the injury was a minor, albeit painful, one.

"It is painful for him when he is in contact with the ball," the manager told reporters. "It is an old problem and he is now recovering from it.

"We have another day, tomorrow, to see if he can be available or not."

The Argentine was optimistic that last season's top scorer, Harry Kane, who went off with an ankle injury against Sunderland on Sept. 18, would resume light training next week.

"We don't know when he can play again, but we can only say he is doing well and we hope next week he will start to train on the grass. He is still not with the group but we are happy with the way he is recovering," Pochettino added.

Tottenham's home victory over Manchester City in their last game took them to second place in the table and just a point behind the league leaders.

Pochettino refused to be drawn on his side's chances of winning the league, but said the team had improved from last season, when they dropped out of the title race at the death to eventually finish third behind champions Leicester City and north London rivals Arsenal.

"Before City and after City I say the same, it is important for us to go step by step. It is too early to say if we are title contenders or not," he added.

"We are more mature and more focused to make every game like a final. Every point is very important and we have improved on that from last season."

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)


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