JOHN O’SHEA hopes Sunderland’s summer spending spree will banish any relegation fears for the Black Cats next season.
Sunderland have been the most active Premier League club in the transfer market during the close-season after adding eight fresh faces to the first-team squad, while they are on the verge of sealing a ninth deal, with the imminent capture of Argentine right-back Gino Peruzzi.
The Black Cats were clearly in need of reinforcements after finishing in 17th spot last season, just three points clear of the relegation places.
But O’Shea, who will skipper Sunderland in Hong Kong with Lee Cattermole still sidelined, is hopeful that the improved competition for places can see Paolo Di Canio’s side stay clear of the Premier League dogfight.
O’Shea said: “It (competition) has increased from last season and hopefully we are looking to be nowhere near last season’s position and to make sure we are comfortably surviving in the Premier League.
“We hope the new lads settle in very quickly because the start of the season soon comes round.”
Sunderland arrived in Hong Kong yesterday with an impressive level of fitness already under their belts after spending 10 days at a training camp, in Italy.
But Wednesday’s clash with Spurs will provide Sunderland’s first genuine test of pre-season, as Di Canio’s make their maiden friendly appearance in public of the summer.
The fixture offers a neat symmetry from the end of last season, where Sunderland finished the campaign with a 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane after Gareth Bale smashed home a stunning last-minute winner.
O’Shea added: “We have had 10 to 11 days in Italy before here so we have had a good base built up over there.
“So we are hoping for some very competitive games to look forward to in Hong Kong.
“Tottenham will be a fantastic test. We had a couple of good games against them last season, especially the final match of the season where it was 0-0 until a certain Mr Bale intervened in the last couple of minutes!
“It will be a good test to see where we are fitness-wise but it will be good to get to see some fans out in Hong Kong too.
“We hope to put on a good show for these fans who cannot come over to see the Premier League.”