STEVE Bruce watched Connor Wickham and Stephan Sessegnon get on the scoresheet last night and said their displays reinforced his belief the four forwards he has in his squad are enough to trouble any Premier League defence next season.
The departure of Darren Bent, the long-term injury to Fraizer Campbelll and loan star Danny Welbeck’s return to Manchester United left Sunderland seriously short of firepower at the end of last season.
And marquee signings up front were expected at Sunderland to address the issue.
But Bruce reckons that he has the players in Wickham, Sessegnon, Gyan and Ji to deliver goals up front next season and it is Sessegnon’s form in particular that the manager claims is set to save him a fortune in the transfer market.
The manager said: “Stephane proved last year that his best position is striker, and in my eyes that’s how I see him.
“He will count as one of our four strikers and I’m pleased with what we’ve got there. We’ve got a bit of a threat, and each one of them offers us something different.
“On top of that, he’s started adding the goals, as well – both at the end of last season as well as pre-season – and the way things are going I am confident that he can get us 12 or 15 goals this season.
“Some of his movement and touch at Kilmarnock was terrific.
“He is a very, very good player.
“He oozes class and he is difficult to play against because he is strong and he’s got a very low centre of gravity.”
On top of that, Bruce was pleased to see potential boy wonder Wickham getting on the scoresheet for the first time in red and white stripes.
Wickham provided the finishing touch to a classy Sunderland move and Bruce noted: “It was a great move and a great finish from Connor.
“It was good for him to get his first goal, even if it was only a pre-season friendly. He’s scored the winner in a game for Sunderland and that will definitely have given him a little lift as he travelled home.
“He’ll be cock-a-hoop at his first goal and it will relieve any pressure that he might have been putting on himself.
“Sessegnon and Wickham got goals; Gyan and Ji will get them too and I feel we’ve also got goals in us throughout the side.
“From that point of view I’m very positive that next season we can pose a threat in front of goal and, hopefully, pre-season is beginning to bear that view out.”