Kenwyne Jones is rediscovering the form that made him "one of the most feared centre-forwards in the Premier League", reckons Sunderland boss Steve Bruce.
Jones grabbed his fifth goal of the season in Saturday's dramatic 2-2 draw at Manchester United.
He remains just two goals behind record signing and top scorer Darren Bent and Bruce must now hope the 25-year-old returns unscathed from Trinidad & Tobago's final World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico.
"Kenwyne is looking more like his old self," said Bruce.
"For a few months last season, even I was looking – from afar, because I was at Wigan – and thinking 'go on Kenwyne, can you find the form that made you probably one of the most feared centre-forwards in the league?'
"Because when he is really at it, that's what he is. And he looks like he is getting back to that again."
Jones and Bent's 12-goal partnership has been pivotal to Sunderland's strong start to the season, which sees them sitting eighth in the Premier League going into the international break ahead of an October 17 home clash with Liverpool.
Bruce has also added Fraizer Campbell to his striking options and views Kieran Richardson as an option up front as well as David Healy and Daryl Murphy.
Despite the impact of Bent and Jones, the manager says he will be prepared to mix it up in attack as the season progresses.
He admits: "I probably don't know my best pairing yet. It's horses for courses.
"It's a long, hard season, and players are bound to pick up knocks, a suspension or fall out of form.
"I haven't formulated anything just yet. But the one thing I have noticed with Benty, Fraizer and Kenwyne is that they enjoy playing with each other. That's important – there's a friendship and a respect coming between them.
"When Benty allowed Kenwyne to take the penalty against Wolves, I wasn't very happy but it was a sign of the spirit that's coming within the squad.
"Could you see Djibril Cisse throwing the ball to Kenwyne last season? I don't think so."
Trinidad & Tobago are away to Costa Rica on Saturday and host Mexico a week tomorrow. The Soca Warriors can't qualify for next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa.