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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

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Bale 'not going to be fit' for Milan

Harry Redknapp has confirmed Gareth Bale is almost guaranteed to miss Tottenham's Champions League trip to AC Milan.

• Sunderland 1-2 Spurs
• Kranjcar: Comeback shows strength

Bale has developed a huge reputation in Italy following his hat-trick in the 4-3 group-stage defeat to Inter, not to mention his man-of-the-match display in the return encounter at White Hart Lane.

However, the Wales international has been struggling with a back problem and, despite Redknapp's tendency to dabble in pre-match mind games, it appears Bale will only be fit for the second leg of Spurs' second-round tie.

"Gareth is not too far away. He's not going to be fit, I don't think, for Tuesday, but he's not too bad," Redknapp said after Spurs' 2-1 victory over Sunderland.

"The specialists have seen it; he's had an epidural injection. Peter Crouch has had the same problem and he is fine - in fact, his back looked a lot worse on the scan.

"He shouldn't be too long, but Tuesday may be just a bit too soon for him. But [Rafael] van der Vaart should be okay."

Tottenham have won their last three games, largely thanks to Niko Kranjcar, who has scored winners against Bolton and Sunderland. However, Redknapp admits Spurs will lose the fear factor that surrounds Bale in Italy.

"You saw what Gareth did against Inter Milan, when he terrorised them, and that would be in their minds an awful lot, I'm sure, if you asked them.

"Everybody in Italy talks about Bale - I went over and watched a game and everyone was asking me: 'Is Bale fit? Is Bale fit?' He would scare them to death, for sure."

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