Preview: Can Sunderland Get Hot Against The Spurs?

Julian Finney

Following the game against Manchester City it's a quick turn around for Sunderland as we take on Tottenham Hotspur, looking to pick up some crucial points to haul our bottoms up the league table. Can we do it? Everything you need to make an informed decision is right here.

Sunderland Team News

Sunderland will be forced into at least one change as Danny Rose is ineligible to face his parent club under the terms of his loan arrangement.

With that in mind it looks as though Jack Colback will be given a role of dropping into left-back, with Phil Bardsley potentially coming into right-back. Craig Gardner would go into midfield in this situation. Alternatively Martin O'Neill may opt to make Bardsley for Rose a straight swap, but I'd worry about him against Lennon and/or Bale.

An interesting alternative to both would be to bring in David Vaughan or David Meyler, but I can't see that happening if we're honest.

Everything else is seemingly as you were. Matt Kilgallon continuing to start after an impressive performance against Manchester City as John O'Shea recovers from illness.

Tottenham Hotspur Team News

Tottenham have no new injury worries following the festive period, and none following an impressive 4-0 win last time out against Aston Villa. The only doubts look to be Younes Kaboul and Clint Dempsey, both of whom are suffering long-term.

Andre Villas-Boas will however be hoping that Moussa Dembele is fit to take to the field as the summer signing faces a late fitness test prior to kick off. He picked a little niggle during the Villa game, but should be ok.

Predicted Lineups

SAFC: Mignolet; Bardsley, Kilgallon, Cuellar, Colback; Johnson, Gardner, Larsson, McClean; Sessegnon, Fletcher

THFC: Lloris; Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Naughton; Lennon, Sandro, Dembele, Bale; Adebayor, Defoe

Key Matchup: Stephane Sessegnon Vs William Gallas

If we're going to get anything from this encounter we're going to need Sessegnon on form, and against an aging William Gallas you'd fancy him to get a little success. If Sess can stick up front rather than dropping deep and picking up the ball then we could hassle him into a mistake - he's known to make them.

Sessegnon certainly will be our key player in tomorrow's game. If he fancies it.

Recent Form: WLWDW

Win: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Panathinaikos (Adebayor 29, Zeca 54, Karnezis OG 76, Defoe 83)
Loss: Everton 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur (Dempsey 76, Pienaar 90, Jelavic 90)
Win: Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Swansea (Vertonghen 75)
Draw: Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Stoke City
Win: Aston Villa 0-4 Tottenham Hotspur (Defoe 57, Bale 61, 73 & 84)

Last Time Around: Sunderland 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur, 07/04/12

A bruising game which saw little action at either end ensured our goalless run continued and effectively quashed Tottenham's hopes of finishing in the top four last season. The game only really remembered for a thunderous tackle from Craig Gardner on Gareth Bale, which the Welshman did his best to make the most of but no booking was forthcoming as the sound of boot on ball echoed around the Stadium Of Light on a bright and sunny day.

The Ref: Martin Atkinson

Atkinson continues to be one of the games most highly-regarded referees, if not actually so by fans. Atkinson was last spotted in Sunderland taking charge of our 1-1 draw with Liverpool this season, and in the past has officiated us on twenty five times. Of those games however we've only won six, drawn ten and and lost nine.

In that time he's been quite lenient on us, with us picking up only thirty yellow cards and no reds, whilst also giving out three penalties in our favour.

What The Managers Said

Martin O'Neill:

We're in good shape after our win over Manchester City and we're really looking forward to the game.

The fans were terrific in the game away at Southampton and against City and we'll have their backing tomorrow and the atmosphere they create can only help us.

Spurs will be very difficult opponents but so were Manchester City.

Andre Villas-Boas:

They have just won against the champions, they also won against Southampton and they've now come out of the relegation zone.

We expect a difficult game there. We are on a good run as well, but in the Premier League anything can happen.

It's been a good December for us apart from the late slip against Everton and the draw at home against Stoke. If we can take this form through it could put us in a good position at the beginning of the year.

Roker Report Predicts

It should be a tough game against Spurs, who seem to have turned a corner under Andre Villas-Boas. However, with everyone a little tired during the Christmas period and us being at home level things out somewhat. I think we can easily get a draw from this one, and we're going for a 1-1 result.

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