By Tottenham correspondent Tony Hughes
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Jan Vertonghen does not expect to play for at least six more weeks as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.
The Tottenham centre-back has revealed he is targeting the club’s trip to Liverpool on 2 April for his return to action.
This means he could miss up to 11 more Spurs matches if they proceed to the next round of the Europa League and FA Cup.
Vertonghen, who sprained the medial collateral ligament in his knee on 23 January, told the Spurs website that he hopes to be back by the next international break, which takes place in late March, ahead of Tottenham’s match at Anfield.
“They (the medical team) always give you a timeframe to come back and the target of the injured player coming back is always to beat that time,” the former Ajax defender said. “I’m out of the brace now and I can walk again so I improve every day. It’s hard work and it will take time.
“I’m aiming to be back around the international break and I want to be part of the team and help however I can.”
If Spurs overcome Fiorentina in their Europa League last-32 tie and defeat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup at the weekend, they are set to play 11 matches before the end of March.
Vertonghen limped off 74 minutes into the team’s 3-1 win at Crystal Palace last month. He injured a knee when he fell awkwardly after seemingly being elbowed by Palace striker Connor Wickham.
Spurs have coped well in Vertonghen’s absence, winning all four matches, including their last three in the Premier League against Manchester City, Watford and Norwich.
Austrian Kevin Wimmer has slotted in well alongside Toby Alderweireld, who has played every minute of the season in the Premier League.