Today we welcome back Darren Bent. And it's been nothing but Darren Bent we've had to listen to in the past few days. In fact all the attention has been on the return of the much-maligned-when-he-was-at-Spurs player, that I reckon I've missed Robbie Keane's latest warcry, lost somewhere between Twittering and how welcome Sunderland fans made Benty when he signed for them. Andy Reid has also been informing us about how he has nothing to prove to Spurs. It's been relatively quite in comparison to the last weekends build up. And I don't mind it a bit. Jenas might have muttered a few words about something and Harry still insists his wife would have scored the chance Darren missed, but other than that, this game seems to have sneaked up on me. It's going to be a mess if we lose to a group of ex-Lilywhites. Terrible time for Bent at Spurs according to the man himself. Let's make today an absolute nightmare for him.
Today, the talking has to take place on the pitch. I'm not going to go all ridiculous on you and tag this game as 'The Biggest Game In Our History' but in relative terms, it's going to be a tad depressing today if we lost all three points. Three successive defeats will pretty much equate to a massive loss of confidence and Harry needing to brush up on his man-management skills to bring us out of the lull and his first lickel potential
crisis problem (with no Ramos to place the blame on).
In the next few weeks, we expect to see the return of Modric and the possibility of an almost practically fully fit squad. The Stoke defeat was just one of those things. The Arsenal defeat was a completely wasted North London derby. Sunderland are also in lower regions of the pretenders category, looking up at 4th spot and scratching their chin, pondering the possibility of challenging for that spot whilst Liverpool continue to lose themselves in their mini-crisis. City are stuttering subtly. Villa too. This game will go along way in showing us whether we do genuinely have the heart and mental strength to dig deep and pull ourselves back up again to something reminiscent of a month or so ago. We'll forget about the tactical limpness we've displayed against the 'Top 4' (other than the scousers) and just make sure we beat the clubs that consider themselves our 'equals' with regards to that push up to 5th/4th.
Lennon might be back today which means no more hoof and hope. Mainly because he'll be able to cross for Defoe - also back and hopefully eager and hungry to make up for his sillyness and suspension. He owes us something. So do our non-existent (last week) midfield. Palacios has not been refined in performance in recent games. He has to be on top of his game today because I doubt Sunderland are going to sit back. They will come at us. And that bloke we sold them (I'll let you guess which one I mean) will no doubt want to show everyone his weight in gold. He's already stated he plans to celebrate if he notches one. He has no qualms about doing so. He's moved on. And we need to be moving on up.
You know that blood and thunder that was missing against Arsenal? Just a slice of that will do us today. It's not just Wilson who has to bring it either. Whomever is standing by his side in the middle also has a responsibility. Three successive defeats will not look good. It will in no way spell the end of any ambitious challenge we have, because mathematically there's an age to go. But it may well hurt the players, and just prove that the fragility in the team (club) is still very much festering away. I'm not going to give up just yet. And neither should our players.
Let's avoid a Bent Twitter gloating session cometh this late evening.
Today is the day for redemption.