The 25-year-old has hit eight goals for the Black Cats since his £14million arrival from Wolves in the summer and is expected to start when Sunderland host the Hammers at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Sam Allardyce: “He’s been tremendous.
“You can see where Sunderland would be if he hadn’t scored the goals he has scored.
“I think that his goals are like gold in terms of the results that they’ve given Sunderland this season.
“Without them they would have struggled a bit more than they already have.
“The importance of a goalscorer is massive and you see that the top end [of the table].
“You see Chelsea losing yesterday because they didn’t finish their chances off and that man Michu scoring again for Swansea, who’s been the find and the buy of the season.
“So if you’ve got that goalscorer – which Sunderland have and we don’t, but we’re sharing them out in all areas – then it’s a massive bonus for you.”