Rowell Report: A good result against Spurs would see Sunderland’s confidence soar ahead of Eagles clash

Jermain Defoe gets past Crystal Palace's Scott Dann to score Sunderland's winner last season.
Jermain Defoe gets past Crystal Palace's Scott Dann to score Sunderland's winner last season.
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Every Sunderland fan will know the size of the task in tonight’s huge game with Spurs and then there is an even bigger game against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

If the Palace game wasn’t big enough, it has the extra ingredient of being the first time Sunderland have faced Sam Allardyce since his summer departure for the England job.

Sam hasn’t exactly hit the ground running at Selhurst Park, at the time of writing he is still looking for his first Premier League victory as Palace boss, but he knows how to get teams out of trouble and he will see the Sunderland game as the perfect opportunity to get his team climbing the table.

The calendar year of 2016 was a bit of a nightmare for the Eagles and nobody was surprised when Alan Pardew lost his job, but when I look at the Palace players I see plenty there who, on their day, could be very dangerous.

Benteke and Remy up front, supplied by Townsend, Zaha, Puncheon and Cabaye can be a threat to anyone, but they are just as likely to have an off day, such is their inconsistency and they are down at the bottom for a reason.

Palace’s defence has been their big weakness, which should offer hope to Sunderland’s forwards especially Jermain Defoe who scored the winner there last year and what we would give for a repeat on Saturday.

Now Patrick van Aanholt’s transfer has gone through, there is a headline just waiting to be written and we can only hope it is a sale that doesn’t come back to haunt us.

Sunderland seem to be getting decent money for him, but in January it is a massive gamble, selling players to your relegation rivals.

Tonight’s result against Spurs will determine the mood and belief of both players and fans for Saturday’s game at Palace.

If we can pull off a shock win or even a battling draw against a title-chasing team then confidence will soar, but another defeat will make Saturday’s job that much harder.

Either way, we have two huge games, but the one we can’t afford to lose is against former manager Sam Allardyce’s team.