Tottenham's striker gamble backfired as Jermain Defoe limped out of action in a 1-0 win at the Hawthorns on Sunday, with manager Andre Villas-Boas fearing he will be without his lead hit-man for the rest of February at least.
• Blog: Bale saves strikerless Spurs
Gareth Bale hauled Tottenham out of trouble once again as he scored a scintillating winner to beat West Bromwich Albion. However, Villas-Boas now faces an uncertain 24 hours and he waits to discover the extent of the ankle injury that forced his only striker Defoe out of the action after 39 minutes.
The Spurs boss conceded his club took a 'big risk' when they opted not to invest in a goal scorer during the January transfer window, with chairman Daniel Levy waiting a mere 72 hours to discover just how costly his reluctance to spend big last month may prove to be.
Togo's exit from the African Cup of Nations means Emmanuel Adebayor will be back for Tottenham in time to face Newcastle in the Premier League next Saturday, yet Villas-Boas insists he is not hitting the panic button despite his alarming lack of firepower.
"Jermain's ankle does not look so good," admitted the Tottenham manager, amid speculation that Defoe could be facing as long as two months on the treatment table with ligament damage. "He will have a scan in the morning and we will assess it from there. He is certainly out of the Newcastle game next weekend, for sure.
"It was always a risk not to buy a striker in the transfer window, but this is the risk we decided to take. We have many attacking options in our team and you could see we created a lot of chances during the game.
"We don't have control over injuries. They happen when you least expect them to and I still feel we are safe with the options we have."
Villas-Boas has hinted that he will consider using star turn Bale in a more advanced striking role, as he looks to plugs the gaping holes in his squad that may ultimately threaten his hopes of guiding Spurs back into the Champions League.
"When we played pre-season, Gareth played alone in the striker role and it is something he feels comfortable with," added Villas-Boas. "He gives us even that possibility for sure. It is something we have to look to. You just have to adapt to it in the best way you can."