MARTIN O’Neill has revealed Spurs have a recall clause on Danny Rose in January.
But he is hoping the Londoners decide not to activate, and instead let the England Under-21 international see out his full year-long loan on Wearside.
Rose arrived in the North East in August as a relative unknown, having made just eight appearances for Spurs since joining the club from Leeds United in 2007.
A couple of serious injuries have restricted his progress at White Hart Lane, but the main impediment to his first-team hopes has been the form and availability of Cameroon left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who has racked up almost 150 appearances for the club since joining three years ago.
Ironically, Assou-Ekotto has been sidelined since September with a knee injury and centre-half Jan Vertonghen has been playing in that role, but the African international is now back in first-team training, and O’Neill hopes that will be enough for Spurs to be happy to allow him to continue at the Stadium of Light.
O’Neill said: “We’ve not spoken to Tottenham about it in any sort of formal way.
“I think Tottenham are happy he’s plying his trade here, and I think Ekotto is coming into fitness now.
“So while they have the ability to recall him in January, they might feel they are well enough stocked now.”
If Rose was relatively unknown when he joined Sunderland, that is no longer the case on the back of a string of fine performances from the 22-year-old who seems to have improved with almost every one of his 13 league appearances so far.
O’Neill agreed: “Danny has improved immensely since he arriving and I think there’s a bit more to come as well.
“He’s got a bit of confidence now.
“When he first got here I think he was conscious of avoiding making too many mistakes.
“That was his focus.
“But he’s playing with a bit more freedom now. He’s feeling more confident.
“He said himself that playing in the Under 21s is a completely different experience from the intensity of the Premier League and that has been tough for him.
“He’s had to learn how to deal with that.
“Initially he was happy just to give the ball to someone in front of him but now he’s looking to make things happen himself and he’s doing very well.”
Rose is currently sidelined after suffering an ankle injury in the game against Reading a week ago which forced him out of Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
But the defender’s knock is not too serious and he could be back for Sunderland’s game against fellow strugglers Southampton at St Mary’s this Saturday.