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Wearside is awash with controversy over star striker Kenwyne Jones' future- or more pertinently, lack of it- at Sunderland.

Opinion among the Stadium of Light faithful is sharply divided over whether the sale of the much-coveted Jones should be resisted at all costs, while the counter-argument is that manager Steve Bruce should cash in on a talented, but frustratingly inconsistent performer who is is attracting widespread interest from a clutch of Premier League clubs.

Yet only twelve months ago the Trinidad and Tobago international was being hailed by Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn as one of the club's "untouchables" after committing himself to a new four-and-a-half  year deal.

Jones was hailed as the cornerstone of Sunderland's long-term rebuilding plans after Quinn rejected a £16million offer from Spurs for the former Southampton frontman.

So what has changed over the past year?

Well first and foremost Steve Bruce has replaced short-term appointee Ricky Sbragia in the the manager's office.

Sbragia was a decidedly player-friendly boss and his appointment was championed and warmly welcomed by Jones.

But Bruce is without doubt a more zealous task master, who simply won't tolerate sub-standard performances no matter whether they come from top stars or squad journeymen.

Bruce has bluntly warned his players in no uncertain terms that if they don't match his standards then they have no future at the club.

And a series of miserable away displays by the Black Cats prompted Bruce to analyse the individual contributions of all his players in forensic detail. Jones was one of the first name's to come under serious scrutiny.

The no-nonsense Geordie manager's first major act at the club last summer was to recruit a proven goal scorer in the shape of Darren Bent.

For all Jones' physical attributes and exciting power, putting the ball in the net is not his strongest suit.

Just 25 goals in 84 league and cup outings for Sunderland is not a particularly prolific return for a striker of his calibre.

And at international level his statistics are even less flattering with a meagre return of just four goals from 42 games for Trinidad and Tobago.

But Jones' early partnership with Bent flourished  and the duo were rated as one of the most fearsome and effective in the Premier League.

And in my opinion, Jones' support and link-up play helped  the £10million Bent become the best value-for-money signing in the Premier |League this term.

However, the early promise of that partnership has stalled and, while, Bent has returned an impressive 13 goals from 20 appearances, Jones has managed to score only six times in 16 league outings.

Only two of Jones goals this season have come away from the Stadium of Light, at Manchester United and Manchester City.

And in humbler environs Jones has drawn a complete blank as Sunderland have failed to replicate their impressive home form on the road.

I have sensed a frustration in Bruce as he has struggled to fire up laid-back characters such as Jones and Steed Malbranque when they play away from home.

There is no argument that on his day Jones is a real handful for defences, but too many of those days are at the Stadium of Light rather than at away venues.

And, while Bruce has never publicly said he will sell Jones, I feel that if the right offer comes in he will take the cash and use it to find a more consistent partner for the prolific Bent.

Sunderland will struggle to get the £16million they were offered by Spurs last January, but I believe that anything in excess of £12million would be too tempting for Sunderland to turn down.