SUNDERLAND boss Steve Bruce assessed his goal-shy squad and admitted the club has lost possibly its most potent strikeforce ever in recent months.
Take away the four goals they scored at home to beat Stoke in September and the Black Cats have averaged less than a goal a game in the Barclays Premier League this season.
And their failures in front of goal were clear again in Saturday’s goalless home draw with fellow strugglers Fulham.
The Black Cats entertain struggling Wigan next Saturday desperate for some relief, but with goalscorers thin on the ground following Connor Wickham’s knee injury.
Bruce said: “It’s the one thing we have got to address, we know that.
“It’s very difficult, very difficult because for me, that’s where we were better than the other 12 teams who I am in the mix with.
“When we had Welbeck, Gyan, Bent, Fraizer Campbell - that’s arguably as good as this club has ever had.
“Unfortunately for one reason or another, we have lost them.
“We will do our utmost to keep searching and looking and trying to find the right one, of course we will.
“That’s my job and that’s our job, to move forward.”
Sunderland have now won just two of their last 14 league games on Wearside since they beat Blackburn New Year’s Day, although Bruce admitted he thought that statistic was about to be addressed against Fulham, who had veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to thank for keeping out a late, deflected effort from Stephane Sessegnon.
He said: “We just needed for maybe our season to get up and running, a last-minute deflected shot.
“Schwarzer - how often has he done that against me? I don’t know, but it was a quite remarkable save.
“I thought it was a certainly, and you go and win it 1-0 and everything is hunky-dory again.
“Unfortunately, we might have to wait for another week.”