GUS Poyet believes Sunderland fans will not see the best of January window signing Nacho Scocco until next season.
But he is hoping that the 28-year-old attacker will still be able to make an important contribution to this season – despite taking time to find his feet in the English game.
The £4m signing joined Sunderland from Brazilian outfit Internacional at the start of the year, in what is officially close season in that country and the Black Cats coaching staff have been trying to get him match-fit since his arrival in England.
Poyet had originally hoped to have him fit and ready for the last 10 games of the current season but Scocco is still struggling to adapt and the head coach believes the last half-dozen games might now be a more realistic target.
“I don’t know how many good games we can get out of Nacho Scocco before the season ends,” Poyet admitted to the Echo.
“I had hoped that the final 10 games of the season we would start seeing the best of him after he joined us in January.
“Now we’re into the last 10 games, we will have to see; maybe the last six.
“He joined us in what is the close season for him and it has been difficult for us at this stage to get him full match fitness and sharpness.”
Poyet still has every faith in a player who had built a reputation in South America for having a great eye for goal, pace, skill and a powerful shot.
“What I am looking forward to is seeing Scocco next season after he has had a full pre-season behind him,” said Poyet..
“I say that because we are all different - some players find it easy to adapt, some players take longer.
“It is a lot to adapt too but it is easier if you are dropped into a team that is playing well - that gives you a better chance to show what you can do and at the moment we are a side that is struggling for form.”
Poyet has an example on his own staff of a South American who took time to settle in English football.
And it’s his assistant head coach Mauricio Taricco, who played for Ipswich, Tottenham, West Ham and Brighton.
“Mauricio was one year without playing,” recalled Sunderland’s head coach.
“It took him a whole year to adjust but no-one remembers that because he was a full-back and therefore not so high profile.
“After that, he made himself a career. But it is different if you are a striker.
“If you have paid a lot of money for a striker and he doesn’t scores goals - he gets noticed straight away!
“Scocco wants to play a part for us this and I’m going to look at him - depending to an extent upon Steven Fletcher’s availability.
“Scocco would love to play for us in the remaining games and I will look to give him his chance, if he is playing well.
“Hopefully we will start seeing what he can do by the end of the season.”