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Carlos Edwards is tipping Sunderland new boy Stern John to produce a double-figure goals return in the Championship run-in.


Yet to break his duck for the Black Cats, the Trinidad and Tobago striker is running out of time to get to the mark with a minimum of 15 games remaining this season - plus a further three if the Black Cats reach the play-off final.

And, with Anthony Stokes, David Connolly, Daryl Murphy and Stephen Elliott challenging for a place up front, John is far from guaranteed to play in all of those.

Nevertheless, Edwards believes his international team-mate, who failed to find the net on his debut at Saturday, can still achieve the feat.

"He can score goals and I hope the fans will see a lot from him," said Edwards of the £250,000 signing from Coventry City.

"There are only 15 games left in the season but I hope he can still get into double figures for us."

Roy Keane has spoken on a number of occasions this season of the importance of a striker in double figures but as yet no-one at the Stadium of Light has managed it.

Sunderland's top scorer is Connolly with seven, although the Republic of Ireland international is currently out with a nasty facial injury suffered in training. Murphy and Elliott have five each and the club's next highest goalscorer is midfielder Grant Leadbitter with four.

John found the net six times for Coventry before his transfer, including one against his current club on the opening weekend of the season.

The 30-year-old started 21 games for City this term, coming off the bench in a further five.

Midfielder Dwight Yorke has scored in two of his last three games, but Edwards believes the former Manchester United striker's biggest contribution can be to use his experience from the centre of the park.

"On the field he encourages us and gives us control over the pace of the game," Edwards said of the 35-year-old. "He knows exactly what it takes to be a winner.

"His legs are a bit gone so it was probably time for him to move back into midfield. I think he enjoys it there and he does a good job for the team."

The 28-year-old, signed from Luton Town for £1.4m in January, sees Yorke as a role model for himself and his compatriots and admits having his familiar face around made life easier when he moved to Wearside.

"By coming to play in England, Dwight paved the way for people like myself, Stern and the younger generation," he said. "They look up to Dwight and when we play it's good to know we're making our country proud.

"It helps having your fellow countrymen in the team. It's a big plus that you know each other and we do bond together.

"That's life, though. You go into new places and new clubs from time to time and you're going to be training with people you don't know. It's up to you to adapt."

The process was further helped by a recent bonding exercise, although Edwards admitted his attitude towards an outdoors weekend in North Yorkshire was lukewarm.

"It was a good day out, everyone was buzzing and trying to kill each other!" he joked. "It was a good laugh but I hope it doesn't happen in that way again because it was freezing. If it's that cold again next time I might give it a miss!"

Sunderland's youth team are in action at Cardiff's Ninian Park tonight in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup. The winners will play Arsenal in the last eight.

Meanwhile, the Black Cats are in line for a double award in recognition of their performances in January.

Keane has been shortlisted as Championship manager of the month after his team claimed 13 points out of a possible 15, their only defeat coming in the FA Cup. Striker Connolly is one of four in line for the division's player prize.