Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is taking a major risk by getting ready to start Lucas Moura in the FA Cup clash with Rochdale on Sunday.
Spurs head to the League One side just days after their dramatic comeback against Juventus in the Champions League, and will be looking to take another step towards ending their silverware drought after 10 years without a major trophy.
The clash in Turin saw Lucas Moura, the club’s only new arrival during the January transfer window, make his debut for the club, coming off the substitutes’ bench in the dying minutes as supporters got their first look at the former PSG winger.
However they are set to get a much longer look at the Brazilian international on Sunday, with Pochettino confirming that he his likely to be handed his first start, as relayed by the personal Twitter account of journalist Alasdair Gold.
Poch refused to talk about Toby Alderweireld 'rumours'. He said Lucas Moura is likely to start on Sunday and Fernando Llorente could start as Harry Kane took a few knocks on Tuesday night. But he's not worried about him for the Palace match next week.
— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) February 16, 2018
However, the Argentine boss is taking a huge risk starting his new prize possession against the League One strugglers, and it could be a decision which easily ends in tears.
Prior to his cameo against Juve, the 25-year-old speed machine had made just six appearances this season, after falling firmly out of favour at his former club.
No matter how hard he has been pushed in training, he will not be up to full match fitness yet, and although Sunday’s clash is against a side fighting for relegation in England’s third tier, it is not the place to prove himself.
Spotland, Rochdale’s ground, have not had much to cheer this season, and the visit of a Premier League giant will have the crowd, and therefore the players, well and truly up for it in what promises to be an electric atmosphere.
There will be players flying into tackles and no shortage of rough and rumble as the Dale stars look to impose themselves on their visitors, and one error of judgement could make for a nasty injury, especially for a fleet footed winger.
In addition, Rochdale have recently relaid their turf after the weather had destroyed their pitch, and although it will be better than what it was, it will be nowhere near the pristine surfaces of the Premier League.
This is not the match for a newcomer to make his debut, and it could turn into a major banana skin for Pochettino and his men.
In other Tottenham team news, one fringe man is set to start after a worrying injury blow for a senior star.