SUNDERLAND will consider taking Kenwyne Jones out of the firing line as the striker's slump in form continues.
But it is clear that he is nothing like the player he was last season when fully fit, or the player who returned from his cruciate ligament injury back in November.
After an initial burst of scoring five goals in his first six appearances back, the goals have increasingly dried up.
He has failed to score in his last five games, but equally as worrying is his struggle to cause havoc in away defences in the way he did last season, creating gaps for team-mates to exploit.
Ricky Sbragia admitted: "Kenwyne is tired. He's come back well for us and he's got us goals, but he's had a lot of games now, and maybe it is beginning to show.
"He's having to nurse himself along, and we aren't seeing him on the training pitch until Friday."
On top of that, Jones is off to the Caribbean this week to take part in T&T's Concacaf final qualifying game against Honduras.
And Sbragia says he will monitor how Jones and his international team-mates Carlos Edwards and Dwight Yorke shape up on their return.
The Sunderland manager said: "I've got a nucleus of 12 players for the next couple of weeks, and we'll work and train them, give them some time off, and then look to see how everyone is next Thursday.
"West Ham will be doing the same with their players, they'll be in the same boat we are.
"But we will look at the players and see how they come through things, and if we decide that some players need a rest, then we'll look to give it to them if possible."