Sunderland do not have a great record against Spurs at White Hart Lane, with just only one win in 20 visits since 1978 - but we have drawn there a lot, including last season, when Gyan starred in a gutsy 1-1 draw. 2 seasons ago we were robbed after a dubious penalty, and under Roy Keane we won there 2-1, after a terrific Kieran Richardson strike.
This is clutching at straws, but we won there 2-1 in the Milk (League) Cup in 1983 when Clive Walker starred, and I also recall a great late 1960s victory, 1-0 after a terrific own goal by Mike England...who else remembers the Welsh centre-back?
Martin O'Neill as our manager has immediately lifted Wearside - he wears his heart on his sleeve, and jumps well, but his tactical nous will be tested in this match.
To quote the BBC website's Martin Fisher: It's not just that he won his first game in charge, it was the manner of the success that was so uplifting. Two goals in the last six minutes - it's Roy of the Rovers stuff and bodes well for the future. I think the Irishman is the perfect fit for Sunderland and vice-versa. He's the master at getting that extra 10% from his players. On paper, Sunderland have always looked a useful side - with O'Shea, Brown, Richardson, Larsson and Bendtner - that extra 10% might be all that's needed to climb the table.
Clearly there was a morale issue with the side since late January 2011, and Steve Bruce ultimately paid the price. It is hard for team to play without the feeling that they have a guy who can put the ball in the net, and even though we have been defensively sound, the goals have generally been hard to come by.
Look for Cattermole to return to protect the back four, for a tight defensive display, and a classic counter-attacking style that is archetypal O'Neill away from home, using the speed of Richardson, Sessegnon and our attacking midfielders. I want to see the Wickham/Bendtner partnership taking off, with the Dane playing further forward, provided he returns from injury.
A win would be great, but a draw would be an excellent result away at in-form Spurs.
©Lars J.S. Knutsen