Look who's coming back to Spurs!
THREE weeks ago Spurs rocked up at Fratton Park with Portsmouth s ex-strike partnership, Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch. This weekend it is Tottenham's turn to host last season s strike force.
By Ben Pearce
THREE weeks ago Spurs rocked up at Fratton Park with Portsmouth's ex-strike partnership, Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch. This weekend it is Tottenham's turn to host last season's strike force.
Harry Redknapp effectively signed Defoe and Crouch to replace Darren Bent and Fraizer Campbell, and both have since signed for Sunderland, joining fellow former Lilywhites Andy Reid and Steed Malbranque.
With Kenwyne Jones suspended on Saturday, Campbell is likely to join Bent up front - assuming he recovers from a hamstring injury - and both will feel they have a point to prove.
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Campbell did not start a single league game under Redknapp, and he made just three appearances in all competitions after the January transfer window, two of them in the Uefa Cup.
Meanwhile, Bent will be on a real revenge mission on his return to White Hart Lane.
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Never happy (or able) to be rotated in and out, the 25-year-old always felt under-valued at Spurs, particularly as he tended to be the third-choice striker - apart from the final four months of 2008 following the departures of Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane.
Seething on the bench, he then had to endure Redknapp's criticism after his miss against Portsmouth - "my missus would have scored that".
A certain Twitter update and a parting shot at Spurs and their 'politics' allowed Bent to get some of his frustrations off his chest, but he will still plan to do his talking on the pitch this weekend.
The Englishman's scoring record since then is certainly impressive, and he is currently the third leading top-flight marksman, with eight goals to his name - more than anyone at Spurs.
That has helped the Black Cats to be one of the big movers of the campaign. The Wearsiders only survived relegation on the final day of last season under Ricky Sbragia, finishing just two points above Newcastle.
However, new boss Steve Bruce and his summer signings have made an immediate impact, and the Wearsiders now sit just two points behind Spurs - a position which is certainly merited.
Sunderland were disappointed to leave Old Trafford with a draw, having led 2-1 in the final moments, and six days later they beat Liverpool - thanks to the infamous beach ball incident.
Despite their performance in Manchester, Sunderland's current position is due to their form at the Stadium of Light, not their points haul on the road.
Bruce's boys have taken four points from a possible 15 away from Wearside, losing at Stoke, Burnley and Birmingham, and they will be missing key players for their trip to Tottenham.
JournalSport verdict: Jones will be a big miss up front, particularly as Bruce has little in reserve. He is also missing the injured Lee Cattermole and the suspended Lorik Cana - which was his first-choice pairing in central midfield at the start of the season. The boss also has to decide between Nyron Nosworthy and Anton Ferdinand in defence - neither have excelled recently.
Spurs will hope to exploit Sunderland's patched-up centre. Meanwhile, Defoe will be back, itching to get back among the goals, and prove that Tottenham have forgotten all about Bent and Campbell.
JournalSport predicts: Tottenham 2 Sunderland 1