Ricky Sbragia has urged striker Kenwyne Jones to put his battered body on the line for one last push towards Premier League safety.
But he healed so well that he has appeared 30 times for Sunderland scoring 10 goals this season, and boss Sbragia admits his hitman has taken a battering.
Jones will lead the line at Portsmouth tonight in a clash Sbragia hopes will end lingering fears of Sunderland being caught up in the last-day survival drama. And his manager insists he is still hungry for success on Wearside, despite being linked with a switch to Spurs in the summer, and suffering criticism for a loss of form.
Sbragia said: "Kenwyne gets a lot of knockss in games and his knee injury has taken its toll. Sometimes when you get back as quickly as him then you hit the wall physically after being successful for five, six or seven games.
"He has taken a lot of bashes, knocks. His body has been through hell. We have had to play him near enough all of the games when it would have been nice to bring him in and out of games.
"I don't think he lost his hunger. He trains well. He is 23, a young player with a lot to learn. He did well last year and this is his second season in the Premier League. "Defenders get to know him.
The first year they take you for granted, the second they know what you are all about, and they toughen up towards you, think about you. But he has done really well for me."
Keeper Marton Fulop has cemented himself as the club's No.1 and has hyped the importance of tonight's trip. He said: "Every game is massive until we're mathematically safe.
Hopefully we can get the result we need to get safe. Every team has highs and lows, even Manchester United and Liverpool and we've done brilliantly to bounce back and get a very good point at Bolton, because it isn't an easy place to go and play.
"This was the first season I've had a run in the Premier League and I'm very satisfied with how things have gone.
"I have had some really good games and can only remember one big mistake. I still have to improve but considering this is my first season, I feel very happy with it.