Striking dilemma for Bruce
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is hoping to have to contend with a major headache when he sits down to pick his team to face Everton on Monday night.
Leading scorer Darren Bent returned to training last week after overcoming the hamstring injury which prevented him from maintaining his ever-present tag this season. The injury prevented the eight-goal striker from lining up against Stoke, Tottenham and Chelsea as the Black Cats attempted to bounce back from their 5-1 derby drubbing at Newcastle.
Bruce has spent much of the time since he pulled off a £10million swoop for the former Spurs striker worrying about what would happen if he was ever missing, but his fears have been emphatically dismissed in the last three games, which have seen record signing Asamoah Gyan take up Bent's mantle and score four times.
With Danny Welbeck having opened his season's account with the final goal in Sunderland's stunning 3-0 victory at Chelsea last Sunday, Bruce finds himself in the enviable position of having three in-form strikers vying for two starting berths, and he could hardly be more pleased.
He said: "Darren has been fantastic for 18 months. It gives me an awful headache.
"When he was our only recognised striker, the owner (Ellis Short) dug deep and we managed to bring in Asamoah.
"When Darren did get injured, he took up the mantle and he came to the plate just when we needed him. I am delighted with the kid.
"The more good players we have got available, terrific. He will give me a hell of a selection headache, but those are the kind of decisions you enjoy making."