Rodwell and Fletcher return to give Sunderland a boost

Steven Fletcher.
Steven Fletcher.
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JACK RODWELL and Steven Fletcher will return to the fold for Sunderland’s trip to Spurs today.

Midfielder Rodwell and striker Fletcher both missed last weekend’s defeat to Liverpool through injury, but they have come through training unscathed this week and will play a part at White Hart Lane.

Rodwell, in particular, is almost certain to start in the defensive midfield slot, with Liam Bridcutt suspended and Lee Cattermole ruled out, with the Teessider yet to return to training from a groin injury.

Cattermole and Bridcutt are not the only absentees, with full-back Anthony Reveillere still a week away from competing for a place in the side, as he continues his recovery from an Achilles problem.

“Lee is still out, but Jack and Fletcher are back in the squad,” said Sunderland boss Gus Poyet.

“We’re going to try to use them as much as possible without forcing them.

“It was a strange week. First, we were devastated after the loss last week.

“Then you start worrying about the players for the weekend.

“Then the news of Jermain coming changed the dynamics a little bit and the atmosphere at the club, and the whole city.

“There are a few more problems than I expected, but I’m not going to complain.

“I asked for quality more than quantity. We’ve got Jermain and now it’s up to us to go there and perform.”

Poyet will make changes to his side after the manner of Sunderland’s defeat to Liverpool, with Billy Jones one of those likely to come into the starting XI.

Right-back Jones was surprisingly on the bench against Liverpool, yet had not played a full part in training in the run-up to the game.

“He’s got a great chance to play today,” said Poyet.

“Things happen during the week. A player maybe doesn’t train Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then on Thursday you don’t do a lot, so you go with the player whose 100 per cent.

“Now, Billy has trained the whole week, and it’s a different situation.”

Sunderland were thrashed 5-1 at Poyet’s former club last season, with the Uruguayan admitting afterwards that it would take a “miracle” for the Black Cats to stay in the Premier League.

Poyet is hoping for better today, with Spurs suffering their first defeat in seven top-flight outings at Crystal Palace last weekend.

“It was quite a special press conference after the game last year!” added Poyet.

“But, no, it wasn’t a great day.

“Let’s make sure we go there and perform.

“Saying that, Tottenham are impressive going forwards, they’ve options, pace, quality and delivery.

“We need to be spot-on defensively, but also try to do things the other way and score goals.

“In that game against Chelsea (New Year’s Day’s 5-2 win) they showed what they’re capable of.”