RICKY SBRAGIA says Sunderland will have to nurse Kenwyne Jones through to the end of the season after admitting the powerhouse striker’s pre-season knee injury has taken its toll.
Since then, he has played in almost every game and has scored nine goals for the Black Cats.
But Sunderland boss Sbragia says he will have to look at Jones’ workload after the former Southampton man limped out of last weekend’s draw at Arsenal with a minor knee problem, although the frontman is expected to be fit to face Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday night.
Sbragia said: “Kenwyne has done absolutely terrific for us, but he has been struggling with a bit of a knee injury and we really have to keep our eye on him.
“He’s picked up a lot of knocks – particularly in the game against Newcastle at St James’s Park – and he has soldiered on. But they are in danger of taking their toll on him and that’s something that we have to be aware of.
“The way he plays, and the nature of the job he does, means that he takes a few knocks for the team. And we shouldn’t expect too much from someone who missed all of pre-season and only came back from serious injury a few months ago.”
Jones played up front on his own at Arsenal and could be asked to take on the same role at Anfield if Djibril Cisse does not recover fully from an ankle injury in time to face his old club.
Sbragia said: “I was really pleased with Kenwyne’s efforts at Arsenal.
“He can be deceptive – it’s part of his style but sometimes it can look as though he is not really be putting it in. If you are a short, nippy striker you can buzz all over the place, but when you are a big man it can take you time to get your feet going.
“But I thought Kenwyne’s attitude was spot-on. He was carrying a bit of a knock so we couldn’t ask him to do too much of a double shift.”