Tottenham v Sunderland
Barclays Premier League
White Hart Lane
18th December 2011, 15:00
Ledley King remains a serious doubt for Tottenham’s tie against Sunderland as the centre back continues to struggle with his persistent knee problem.
There was some good news for Spurs boss Harry Redknapp after Niko Kranjcar and Steven Pienaar came through 90 minutes against Shamrock Rovers on Thuersday, but Roman Pavlyuchenko (back) and Younes Kaboul (suspended) will miss out.
For Sunderland, Nicklas Benstner is available for selection but may miss out after his off-the-field- indiscretions earlier this week, while Craig Gardener and Lee Cattermole are also available.
Defoe wants Sunderland start
Jermain Defoe says he is excited about the potential demonstrated by Tottenham this season, even if he has found his first team opportunities limited thanks to the presence of Rafael Van Der Vaart.
Spurs recently embarked upon a 11 game unbeaten run that thrust them into contention for the Premier League title this season before they came unstuck against Stoke last Sunday.
Defoe started that game from the bench despite finding the back of the net in recent weeks against Bolton, Fulham, and West Brom, and is once more vying for a starting spot with Van Der Vaart.
The former West Ham and Portsmouth forward was also on the scoresheet in the 4-0 win over Shamrock Rovers on Thursday, and while he admits he is frustrated at sitting on the bench, Defoe remains excited at the prospect of what the Tottenham squad can achieve this season.
"This is the best squad I've been involved in – obviously there is still a long way to go, the second half of the season will play a big part.
"Even though we've got a massive squad there are players that are injured, the likes of Ledley King, Michael Dawson, Sandro, Tom Huddlestone, so that's top players who haven't been involved and we've done so well.
"When we get those players back it'll make a big difference again. So if we just keep winning football matches then you never know what can happen – we've definitely got a chance." He added.
Redknapp deployed both Van Der Vaart and Defoe alongside regular starter Emmanuel Adebayor in the second half against Stoke to good effect, and may be tempted to do so again against an out of form Sunderland.