David Jones: Why I’m petrified that Spurs will scupper Sunderland’s survival bid

GENTLE BREEZE: Harry Kane.
GENTLE BREEZE: Harry Kane.
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I’M worried about Spurs. Petrified. They could hold the key to Sunderland’s survival but right now their own fans wouldn’t trust them to hold their own against anyone.

It boils down to this. After that stunning win at Goodison Park on Saturday, Sunderland might not need another point.

TACTICS: Dick Advocaat.

TACTICS: Dick Advocaat.

A Tottenham win over Hull on Saturday would in my view commit Steve Bruce’s team to the Championship because I don’t see them beating Manchester United on the final day.

But there’s the big uncertainty.

Spurs were thrashed 3-0 at Stoke at the weekend; they’ve lost their last two games at White Hart Lane to Manchester City, fair enough, and to Aston Villa, both without scoring.

Alarm bells are ringing. Harry Kane the hurricane has looked more like a gentle breeze since his much publicised England debut; Christian Eriksen has scored one goal in almost four months; and they’ve kept one clean sheet in 16 games...against Burnley.

Perhaps their excursions in the Europa League have caught up with them; perhaps they are doing everything they can to avoid another season in that awful competition.

You just hope that they can rally themselves in front of their demanding supporters for one last time and if they do Sunderland can start planning for next season.

Clearly, though, it’s not over yet.

As I’ve maintained throughout the last month or so, Sunderland have to look after themselves. And quite honestly I didn’t expect us to be in this position with three games to go.

Dick Advocaat has certainly exceeded my expectations with a return of 10 points from six games in charge.

I feared that this Leicester game might be one we had to win to stay in touch but now that position has shifted to win to stay up.

And Advocaat has to take the plaudits for that – so too Lee Congerton as the man who took the gamble on him.

Our Dutch coach has introduced a strange phenomenon we are not used to seeing: the ball bouncing off our posts to safety, and the other end, the ball bouncing off our strikers’ backsides into the net.

And that has to be the biggest single change to this team under Advocaat.

There has been an intensity to Sunderland’s play that was sadly absent for much of this season.

It’s Tony Pulis’ big secret: be organised and work bloody hard. And if you work harder than the opposition every week then chances are your luck will turn.

That’s why Burnley weren’t relegated until this weekend – despite the fact their wage bill is laughably lower than their rivals and that on paper their squad has significantly less quality than anyone else.

Sean Dyche flooded his team full of self belief, organised them within an inch of their lives and had them working harder than anyone else.

I’d go as far as saying that even in his short few weeks in the post, Advocaat has proved himself to be as astute a coach I can remember taking charge of Sunderland.

Quite frankly, he should be, given his CV but it’s nice to see it in practise.

I mean, who else would consider playing Jermain Defoe as a right wing-back up against Leighton Baines...

Ok, I don’t agree with all his tactical choices but there’s no doubt he has won the trust of his players who can see they wisdom of his work. After all, Defoe was still on the pitch and switched into a more central position to claim Sunderland’s second at Goodison.

So a word on Leicester. They will play with three central defenders, right wing-back Marc Albrighton is one of the best crossers in the league, their left wing-back Jeffrey Schlupp one of the quickest.

Esteban Cambiasso acts as their defensive minder patrolling the base of midfield – the on pitch manager who dictates the play, commands and cajoles two workhorses alongside him who will run all day.

Going forward they have the magician Mahrez who’s found a central role in this new shape and looks very happy in it, plus the relentless Jamie Vardy who’s like a dog chasing a bone. He never stops.

Leicester have been brilliant in recent weeks from seven points adrift to a position where they could secure their own safety at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

It’s a massive game and it’s in Sunderland hands. Let’s hope we can forget about what happens at White Hart Lane, finish the job ourselves and get the party started.