Sunderland v Bournemouth: Black Cats warned of Eddie Howe's masterplan

Jermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe
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Eddie Howe has warned Bournemouth to "nullify" Jermain Defoe to pull off a crucial Premier League victory at Sunderland.

Howe hailed his one-time Cherries team-mate as "still one of the best players I've played with", ahead of Saturday's Stadium of Light trip.

Bournemouth failed to tempt former England star Defoe into a Dean Court return in the summer, and now Howe has highlighted the 33-year-old as the Black Cats' danger man.

"He has the ability to score key goals in tight games, so we certainly know about his strengths," said Howe of Defoe, who has hit nine Premier League goals this term.

"Our key aim is to nullify him, keep him quiet.

"Of course there are very good players around him, but certainly his form has been very good of late.

"He's still one of the best players I've played with."

Defoe bagged 18 goals in 29 Division Two appearances on loan at Bournemouth in the 2000/2001 season before making his big breakthrough at Tottenham.

The 55-cap striker's goals have sustained Sunderland's relegation battle so far, but now Howe wants Bournemouth to claim victory in the north east to edge themselves further away from the drop zone.

"I didn't realise it was 15 years ago that Jermain was here, that makes me feel old," said Howe.

"I'm not surprised he's still playing.

"When we got him he was a young lad, making his way in the game and trying to build his career and he did that in style here.

"He transformed our season from being relegation candidates to promotion candidates, and that was really down to him.

"He's a great lad, he lives for scoring goals, that's what he wants to do and he's still managing to do it at the very highest level."