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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Ramos braced for hostile Emirates reception

Tottenham head coach Juande Ramos is bracing himself for a hostile reception at Arsenal tomorrow and insists he will not be affected by insults aimed towards him at the Emirates Stadium.

Ramos is no stranger to intense derby atmospheres and was hit by a bottle earlier in the year when he was coach at Sevilla against their bitter rivals Real Betis.

'I've forgotten about it,' said the Spaniard. 'I hope it never happens again on a football pitch.'

Sir Alex Ferguson complained this season about abuse his staff received on the bench at Arsenal, and figures such as Harry Redknapp and Gordon Strachan have addressed the issue as a problem the game faces.

Ramos said: 'It's something that happens in all countries and not just England - people will throw insults at their opponents.

'As long as it doesn't involve violence then that is something normal.

'I have a slight advantage over everyone else because I don't know what they are saying! It's not going to bother me in the slightest.'

Ramos insisted the ugly incident with Betis fans had no lasting damage, adding: 'It didn't affect my confidence. The following week I was on the touchline.'

Meanwhile, Ramos' problems in defence intensified yesterday following Didier Zokora's unsuccessful appeal against his dismissal at Manchester City - and news Ledley King has not trained for a fortnight.

The Football Association upheld Steve Bennett's decision to give Zokora a straight red card on Tuesday night for his two-footed tackle on Elano.

The Ivory Coast international is a midfielder by trade but has recently been used by his club at centre-back, such is the injury crisis at White Hart Lane.

Ricardo Rocha and Michael Dawson face a race to be fit for tomorrow's lunchtime kick-off, while any hopes of King making a surprise return have been dashed by a thigh complaint.

The Spurs skipper made his comeback from knee surgery in a reserve game against Fulham earlier this month and travelled with the squad to Portsmouth last week but could not play.

'He's gone two weeks without training because he is injured,' said Ramos. 'He started feeling the knocks in the Fulham reserve game.

'Footballers get injured but, for us at the moment, they all seem to be defenders. It's difficult to take but you have to accept it.'

Gareth Bale and Benoit Assou-Ekotto are Ramos' other long-term injuries. It means he will have a makeshift defence as he looks to mastermind Spurs' first victory over Arsenal since 1999.