Pochettino boosted by Kane progress

Struggling Stoke City could face the ominous prospect of Harry Kane returning to Tottenham's starting line-up on Saturday.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane.   -  Getty Images

Harry Kane is closing in on a starting berth for Tottenham's Premier League trip to Stoke City.

The England striker was expected to spend a significant period on the sidelines when he suffered an ankle injury at Bournemouth four weeks ago.

But Kane returned to action as a second-half substitute during last Sunday's 3-1 win at Chelsea and is shaping up well ahead of Saturday's fixture versus opponents he has scored eight times against in his previous four outings.

"He is okay after playing nearly 20 minutes against Chelsea. This week was good, he is working hard," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino told a pre-match news conference.

"We need to see him in one more training session but he is doing very good. 

 "Of course, the expectation for him is to score goals. He is hungry to score."

Spurs' derby win last time out was their first at Stamford Bridge since February 1990 and the significance was not lost on Pochettino.

"It was fantastic in the moment that we achieved the victory," he said.

"The day after, it disappears and you need to be focused for the game against Stoke, which will be very tough. It will be a big battle because they are playing for survival.

"But it was good to beat Chelsea, it is always good to win a derby – after 28 years, for our fans to feel a victory at Stamford Bridge. 

"But we can't spend too much time on it. We need to be ready."

More significantly than any long-overdue bragging rights, Dele Alli's second-half brace at Chelsea established an eight-point buffer between Tottenham in fourth and Antonio Conte's side in fifth.

As such, a return to the Champions League next season is very much on the cards for Spurs and Pochettino has an eye on Liverpool and Manchester United, both of whom are in away derby action on Saturday, immediately above his team.

"We want to finish as high as possible, we are in a good position but there are still a lot of games to play," he added.

"If we can finish second, it would be better than third or fourth."