SAFC v Spurs

Preview: Tottenham v Sunderland

by Ashley Houghton

Cats travel to capital on Sunday for their final game of 2012-13.

Paolo Di Canio’s side face Andre Villas-Boas’ top-four chasing Spurs who know only a victory will give them any chance of qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League.

Otherwise the London club would need Arsenal to fail to win at Newcastle United.

Sunderland’s Barclays Premier League safety was confirmed after FA Cup with Budweiser winners Wigan Athletic lost 4-1 against the Gunners on Tuesday evening.

The Black Cats could move as high as 12th with a win at White Hart Lane but they will be without Danny Rose who is ineligible for the game against his parent club.

Spurs come into the game on a seven-match unbeaten run in the league, though they haven’t won back-to-back matches in that time.

Sunderland are without a win in three league games but the eight points they have picked up since the arrival of head coach Di Canio have steered the Black Cats to safety.

And, despite injury and suspensions ruling out Sunderland’s three leading marksmen; Steven Fletcher, Craig Gardner and Stephane Sessegnon, the Black Cats haven’t failed to score in any of the Italian’s six games in charge.

Villas-Boas’ side have relied heavily on the impact of PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year Gareth Bale this campaign, and the Welsh international will be looking to add to his 20 league goals this season.

Di Canio’s men will welcome back Connor Wickham, who was called up to Stuart Pearce’s under-21 squad for the European Championships in Israel this summer, after the 20-year-old played 45 minutes against Southampton last weekend.

Sunday’s meeting will be the 110th occasion in which the two sides have met with Spurs coming out on top on 43 occasions and Sunderland on 37, whilst there have also been 21 draws.