11 September 2014 17:36
As doubts linger over the future of their own home, Tottenham hit the road to face Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday.
It was announced on Wednesday that the north London club would have to play 2017-18 home games away from White Hart Lane as plans for a new stadium on the site are set to go to the High Court.
Complications surrounding a compulsory purchase order have held up the project, meaning Tottenham have been left exploring their options with regards to a temporary home.
The off-field distractions continued on Thursday as the club were moved to deny newspaper reports the club was up for sale, and head coach Mauricio Pochettino will be eager to see the focus switch back to footballing matters at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
The Argentine could hand a debut to new signing Benjamin Stambouli, who arrived from Montpellier for an undisclosed fee on transfer deadline day, and the 24-year-old says he is struggling to contain his excitement ahead of a potential Premier League bow.
“I have a lot of energy and I have to be focused on my work to play well and not to be too excited like a child,” he told the club’s website. “I’m very happy. The training has been hard and we’ve worked a lot with a lot of intensity.
“It’s been good for my preparation to play for Spurs.
“I have to continue to work hard to be ready and to be at the same level as the rest of the team.”
If he plays on Saturday, defensive midfielder Stambouli will be up against a former custodian of that position in the form of Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet.
Poyet spent three seasons with Tottenham before calling time on his playing days in 2004, but there will be no time for sentiment on his part as Sunderland go in search of their first win of the season.
“It is a massive game against one of my old clubs,” he said. “They have great players and one of the best squads in the Premier League with plenty of options.
“They also have a new manager who is a good friend which gives it something special, but it is big game for us and it will be very challenging.”
After picking up draws against both West Brom and Manchester United, the Wearsiders suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of QPR before the international break.
It took Sunderland until October 27 to record their first win of the 2013-14 campaign and Poyet will be keen to avoid waiting so long this time around, but will be well aware that his side have not beaten Tottenham in their last 10 attempts.
Roberto Soldado (neck) is a doubt for Tottenham, while Kyle Walker remains sidelined after undergoing abdominal surgery earlier this month.
Sunderland have no reported injury concerns.