RICKY SBRAGIA is backing Kenwyne Jones to take out his Anfield frustrations on his would-be suitors Spurs tomorrow.
However, Sbragia believes Jones is over that miss as he prepares to spearhead the Sunderland attack against Spurs at the Stadium of Light – just two months after the Wearsiders blocked an £18m bid from the Londoners for their prize asset, who might otherwise have been lining up AGAINST them.
Boss Sbragia believes Sunderland’s determination to hang onto Jones – who later signed a new contract on Wearside – shows the club is moving in the right direction.
He said: “At the end of the day, Spurs made an offer for Kenwyne and we said no to it.
“Had we sold Kenwyne I would have had doubts over which way the club was going.
“Were we just looking to survive, or are we looking to build the club and try to take it forward?.
“You cannot do that by selling your best players.
“Thankfully, Kenwyne is still with us and he will want to impress against Spurs, there is no doubt about that.
“He should have scored at Liverpool earlier in the week, and that miss will only make him more determined to score tomorrow.”
Jones should have claimed his 10th goal of the campaign against the Reds, but fired tamely at Pepe Reina when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
It was a bad miss, but Sbragia is confident it will not hang over the Trinidad and Tobago star.
He added: “Kenwyne did everything right to create the chance for himself, and he will be disappointed he did not score.
“It probably played on his mind for 10 minutes or so during the game, but it will not bother him now.
“The goalkeeper deserves credit because he did not sell himself – he made Kenwyne make the decision and he did not connect with it properly.
“We have not spoken about it – we did not need to because I know how he feels about it.
“The good thing about top strikers like Kenwyne is they put those things out quickly of their mind.
“They are always confident they will make their next chance count.”
Jones has played as a lone striker in Sunderland’s last two games at Arsenal and Liverpool, but Sbragia is set to revert to his preferred 4-4-2 system tomorrow, with Djibril Cisse likely to be drafted in up front alongside Jones.
Midfielder Teemu Tainio (knee) and defender Nyron Nosworthy (hamstring) are out.