Sunderland ace Asamoah Gyan confident after Hartlepool goal

ON THE RUN ... Sunderland's Asamoah Gyan and Hartlepool's Evan Horwood give chase.
ON THE RUN ... Sunderland's Asamoah Gyan and Hartlepool's Evan Horwood give chase.
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ASAMOAH Gyan is confident he will be in suitable shape for the Premier League opener after breaking his pre-season duck.

The Ghanaian hitman grabbed the equaliser for Sunderland in last night’s 3-1 victory at Hartlepool United as the Black Cats produced their most complete performance of pre-season so far.

Gyan has endured a tough time since reporting for duty last month, with the 25-year-old put through a gruelling fitness regime during the club’s tour of Germany after not being up to scratch to feature in any of the games.

But Sunderland’s record signing lasted the full 90 minutes at Victoria Park in his third pre-season outing and believes he is edging closer to peak condition, just in time for the curtain raiser at Liverpool in 10 days time.

Gyan told the Echo: “You can see we’re getting closer to the league and everyone is almost ready for the season.

“Everybody looked sharp last night. I arrived late and I still need to work on my fitness level, but I think everything will be fine.

“For a striker, you need to put the ball in the net. That was my third game of pre-season after I’d had my problems with my fitness.

“But I’m happy I was able to play the 90 minutes and get the goal which is a boost to my confidence.

“It’s good for me to get 90 minutes too because the previous two games I wasn’t in my best shape and I wasn’t doing some things right.

“But last night, I was able to do things better and my fitness was better.”

Gyan’s goal had a hint of offside about it as the Pools defence remained static from Seb Larsson’s cross, but the striker insists his 30th minute header did deserve to stand.

Of far more significance for the Black Cats was the partnership between Gyan and the outstanding Stephane Sessegnon, with the duo in line to start together at Anfield after linking up effectively as a front pair in the final game of last season at West Ham.

“It wasn’t offside because I came from behind,” said Gyan. “It looked a bit close and the referee gave one later on for offside which wasn’t.

“It’s one of those things but at least I got a goal.”

He added: “I know Stephane well and we’ve been talking together off-the-pitch about working on the field.

“Everything is building up and this season we’re going to do well together. It all started at West Ham. When Stephane came here, he played wide but the manager saw what he’s capable of doing down the middle at West Ham.”