Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp is increasingly confident Gareth Bale could return from injury to play against AC Milan in the second leg of their Champions League clash.
Bale has been sidelined for over a month with a back problem, but has finally returned to training this week as his rehabilitation progresses. Redknapp is now optimistic he could be available for selection for the last-16 tie at White Hart Lane.
"Hopefully there will be a bit of sunlight, Gareth Bale is back and a few of the others," Redknapp told Sky Sports on Thursday. "Hopefully [Bale will be available for the game against Milan], he's back in training today so we'll look at him tomorrow.
"He's started to run, which is good, so he could be available. Which is good because he's an important player for us."
Spurs hold a 1-0 advantage from the first leg in Italy, thanks to Peter Crouch's late strike. But the game was somewhat overshadowed by Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso's altercation with Spurs coach Joe Jordan - an incident that has seen the Italian banned from European competition for four matches, in addition to his pre-existing suspension from the second leg.
A week on, Redknapp is still bemused by the veteran's antics.
"He was a good lad, I don't know what he happened really - he just cracked up and went off his head," he said. "There wouldn't be too many people who would pick on Joe Jordan, it's certainly not the cleverest thing he's ever done. But I'm looking forward to the game, it should be a great game."
With the first leg advantage - not to mention an away goal - to cling onto, Redknapp is hopeful his charges can keep upsetting the odds and progress in the competition, although he believes the two giants from Spain remain the sides to beat.
"We had Young Boys of Bern first up [in the qualification round], and we were 3-0 down after 20 minutes and I thought 'that's it for us'. But we came through that and have hung in there," he said. "Milan will still be difficult. They've got forwards that can hurt you, they can still be dangerous. You've just got to keep going.
"It's all to play for, but you've got to say the two favourites would be Barcelona and Real Madrid."