Tottenham seek lucky break at Shamrock Rovers

Tottenham Hotspur FC need a big win in Dublin – and a defeat for FC Rubin Kazan at PAOK FC – to steal second place in Group A, but Shamrock Rovers FC will be eager to get their first points on the board.

Gareth Bale celebrates a Premier League goal for Tottenham
Gareth Bale celebrates a Premier League goal for Tottenham ©Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur FC's UEFA Europa League prospects look bleak, but as they head to Shamrock Rovers FC for their last Group A game, there is some hope.

• A substantial win in Dublin – and defeat for FC Rubin Kazan at PAOK FC – could give the London side second place in the section, but Rovers will be eager to get their first points on the board.

Previous meetings
• Stephen Rice (50) gave the Irish side a shock lead when the sides met at White Hart Lane on matchday two, but quick goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko (60), Jermain Defoe (62) and Giovani Dos Santos (66) turned the game round.

• Prior to matchday two Rovers had not met an English side in a competitive game since they became the first Irish side to feature in the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1957/58. They lost 6-0 at home against Manchester United FC in the preliminary round on their European debut and lost the return fixture 3-2 against the famous Busby Babes side.

• Tottenham's record in five games against Irish sides reads W4 D1 L0 (W1 D1 L0 in Ireland). They have won their last four games against Irish clubs since drawing 1-1 at Dundalk FC in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup second round in 1981.

Match background
• Tottenham's last six away European games have ended W2 D2 L2.

• Rovers have conceded 15 times in Group A, the most in the group stage.

Team facts
• Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko turns 30 on the day of the game.

• Since the first leg, Rovers have claimed their 17th league title; they remain the most successful club in Irish football.

• Rovers' 28-year-old midfielder Rohan Ricketts was only the fourth player to leave Arsenal FC for Tottenham when he joined Spurs in 2002. He played for the club until 2005.

• Previously loaned to Coventry City FC, Ricketts joined Wolverhampton Wanderers FC in 2005 after a successful loan spell and later represented Queens Park Rangers FC and Barnsley FC, before spending time abroad with Toronto FC, Diósgyőri VTK, FC Dacia Chisinau and SV Wilhelmshaven.

• Rovers have an English goalkeeper, Birmingham-born Richard Brush, while defender Dan Murray was born in Cambridge.

• Several other Rovers players have played for English clubs:
Billy Dennehy: Sunderland AFC (2005-08), Accrington Stanley FC (2007/08, loan)
Ronan Finn: Cambridge United FC (2004/05)
Pat Flynn: Wolverhampton Wanderers FC (2003-05), Torquay United FC (2005), Kidderminster Harriers FC (2005)
Patrick Kavanagh: Birmingham City FC (2007)
Dean Kelly: Oldham Athletic AFC (2010/11)
Conor McCormack: Manchester United FC (2006-08)
Karl Moore: Manchester City FC (2007-10), Millwall FC (2008/09, loan)
Stephen O'Donnell: Arsenal FC (2004/05)
Jim Paterson: Plymouth Argyle FC (2008-11)
Steven Rice: Coventry City FC (2001/02)
Karl Sheppard: Everton FC (2007-10)
Chris Turner: Derby County FC (2004/05)
Gary Twigg: Derby County FC (2000-05), Burton Albion FC (2003/04, loan), Bristol Rovers FC (2004, loan), Oxford United FC (2007)

• Rovers left-back Enda Stevens will join English side Aston Villa FC in January 2012, when his contract with the Dublin club expires.

• Spurs have had a number of notable Dublin-born players:
Joe Kinnear (defender, 1965-75)
Jimmy Holmes (defender, 1977-81)
Stephen Carr (defender, 1993-2004)
Stephen Kelly (defender, 2000-06)
Robbie Keane (striker, 2002-08 and 2009-11)

• Tottenham have official supporters clubs located in Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Sligo and Waterford in Ireland.

• Rovers manager Michael O'Neill made 33 senior appearances for Northern Ireland and played European games for Coleraine FC (1986/87), Dundee United FC (1989/90) and Glentoran FC (2002/03). He also played for English clubs Newcastle United FC, Coventry, Reading FC and Wigan Athletic FC.

• Rovers have confirmed that O'Neill will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of December. Since the Irish season is already over, this will be his last match in charge.

• Harry Redknapp spent the bulk of his playing career with West Ham United FC and AFC Bournemouth, and managed both clubs prior to spells with Portsmouth FC and Southampton FC. He has been in charge at Tottenham since 2008.