Dick Advocaat hopes the fortnight’s international break will prove to be beneficial for the fitness of big-money summer signing Jeremain Lens.
Winger Lens has quickly made an impression in a Sunderland shirt after his arrival from Dynamo Kiev, in a deal which could eventually be worth as much as £12.5million.
But, despite opening his Sunderland account at Aston Villa 12 days ago, Lens was more subdued than he had been in the previous Premier League outing against Swansea and was taken off with 15 minutes to go.
Advocaat says that was due to Lens still being affected by a minor knee problem, which had caused him to sit out the Capital One Cup victory over Exeter City four days earlier.
However, the Sunderland boss is confident that Lens will be fully-fit for this Sunday’s visit of Spurs after a fortnight’s breather from competitive action, even if he was called up as a late addition to the Holland squad.
Advocaat said: “You could see that Lens had some problems with his knee at Aston Villa.
“Hopefully he can get his sharpness back after these 14 days, before we play Spurs.”
Lens’ international break was disrupted by the struggles of his country, with the Dutch now facing an uphill battle to make next summer’s European Championships.
The 27-year-old was originally left out of the Holland squad for their back-to-back qualifiers, but after defeat to Iceland, he received a call-up for Sunday’s clash against Turkey.
But Lens was an unused substitute for the 3-0 defeat in Turkey, which left Holland struggling to even secure a play-off spot for Euro 2016.
Lens has been back at the Academy of Light this week though and is one of several players handing Advocaat a fitness boost for the return to Premier League action.
Adam Johnson and Jordi Gomez are both on the verge of returning to action after being sidelined with shoulder and knee problems respectively.