Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is backing striker Darren Bent to rediscover his lethal touch in front of goal just when his club needs it most.
The 26-year-old England international took his total for the season to 11 with a penalty in the shock 2-1 FA Cup third-round defeat by Notts County on Saturday.
However, he also passed up a series of opportunities to add to his tally having scored just once in his previous seven games - a failing which proved particularly costly in the 2-0 defeat by Blackpool on December 28.
But Bruce, who saw his £10million signing plunder 25 goals in all competitions last season, is confident the former Tottenham man will find his touch again - and is hoping that happens against local rivals Newcastle this weekend.
He said: "As I have always said, he has had a terrific 20 months with us and this could be his occasion.
"He has missed a few, but every striker goes through that. He has had such an impeccable record since he came here with the conversion of chances he has had. He has probably had more in the last two games than he did all of last season, and he managed to score 20-odd goals. He will be fine, and I hope this one is his game."