NICKLAS Bendtner is confident he can strike up an effective partnership with Fraizer Campbell despite just 45 minutes together as a double act.
Stephane Sessegnon’s three-match ban forces Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill to make a decision over his forward options for tomorrow’s visit of Liverpool.
Campbell looks the most likely contender to replace the suspended Sessegnon, with the 24-year-old limited to a substitute’s role for Sunderland’s last three games.
The new England international replaced Bendtner in last week’s derby draw, with their only time together on the pitch coming in the 4-0 defeat at West Brom a fortnight ago after both were introduced as half-time substitutes.
But Bendtner believes their respective assets can complement each other as Sunderland attempt to make light of the loss of the previously ever-present Sessegnon.
Bendtner told the Echo: “I think it can work with Fraizer. Obviously we train every day together and he got an England cap and a baby last week which is fantastic news for him.
“He’s absolutely buzzing at the moment. He’s a really good player and he’s shown that as well.
“He’s been a bit unlucky with his injury, but I’m sure he can come on strong in these last few games of the season.
“He makes good runs behind the defenders and he’s a good finisher as well so it could work really well.
“Stephane has done fantastic this season and obviously it’s disappointing that he did what he did.
“But the guy (Cheik Tiote) was after him and you could look at it two ways. The guy could have got a yellow card for diving because he went down like he’d been shot.”
Bendtner’s start at the Sports Direct Arena last weekend was his first since January. The on-loan Arsenal frontman suffered a broken nose against Swansea and was then ineligible in the back-to-back games against the Gunners.
But the 24-year-old believes he is edging closer to match fitness after two appearances for Sunderland were sandwiched by an hour for Denmark in their 2-0 friendly loss to Russia.
“Obviously the match fitness is something you never get unless you play and being out for five weeks made it difficult,” he added.
“It was really annoying that we drew Arsenal in the FA Cup. I got three weeks of training with the mask, but you want to be playing games.
“We need to do well now over the last 12 games and I want to do my best as well. It’s all set up to finish the last part of the season well.
“We want to finish as high up the table as we can and we’ve got a great chance in the FA Cup as well. It would be brilliant if we could win something.”