Altidore expects tough test for Sunderland against Spurs

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JOZY ALTIDORE expects Sunderland to face their sternest test of the season yet in this weekend’s visit of Spurs.

Sunderland head into tomorrow’s Stadium of Light encounter still looking for a maiden Premier League victory of the campaign after a modest tally of two points from their opening three outings.

The Black Cats, who won just five times on their own turf in the top flight last season, opened their account at home with a 1-1 draw against Manchester United three weeks ago.

But with Spurs currently looking a far more viable bet for the top four than Man United, striker Altidore believes Sunderland face a tough task to break their duck tomorrow.

“I think this will be a really big test for us,” said Altidore.

“It’s good that it’s at home, but it’s a stick to see where we’ve come and where we’re going.

“I’m excited and the boys are up for it.

“Nobody wants to get into the rut of last season at home, so hopefully we can get points against Tottenham.

“They’re a good team, but I believe we can get the points.

“It’s just about it coming together.

“We saw last season what can happen when it comes together, so we all need to believe in that.”

Altidore will come into Gus Poyet’s thinking tomorrow after returning to full fitness, following his recovery from a hamstring strain at the start of the season.

Fellow frontmen Connor Wickham and Steven Fletcher are yet to find the net in the league this season, with Poyet indicating that his striker selection will be determined by which of the trio are finding the net.

“It’s (the striker position) up for grabs in a respectful way,” said Altidore.

“I’m not the sort of guy who is going to wish anything bad on my team-mates.

“I like Fletch a lot and want him to do well after he had a tough time last season. I know if he gets the proper service and proper passes, he’ll score goals.

“At the same time, you have to be pro-active and try to make a nuisance of yourself.

“It’s a collective thing.

“I keep referencing last year and you saw how well we did when Connor got chances and put them away.

“That’s where we need to get to and then you’ll have guys swapping.”

Poyet could also hand deadline day signing Ricky Alvarez his Sunderland bow tomorrow after the midfielder became the last of the club’s nine summer additions when he arrived on a season-long loan from Inter Milan last week.

Altidore admits the end of the transfer window comes as a relief for the squad, but realises it will take time for the team to settle after yet another close season of dramatic change.

The 24-year-old added: “(With the window closed) you know the guys that are here, you can get to know them better and we can all work towards one common goal.

“It’s a lot better obviously.

“But these are the hard times, especially for the fans, because they want to see the team be successful right now.

“You look at a team like Swansea though and the way they play. Whichever player comes in, they get into the system in a couple of weeks.

“We need to emulate that so when new players come in, they can quickly be successful.”