But Kieran Richardson stepped forward to fill the breach with two goals to sink Blackpool.
He might have had at least ahat-trick as he tormented Ian Holloway's side, and Sunderland managerSteve Bruce said: 'I must have asked him to play in five or sixpositions this season and we know he is capable of a performance likethat.
First up: Kieren Richardson beats Richard Kingson to score the opening goal
'His pace was electric and he wasthe outstanding player. In adversity, my squad respond. I am delightedwe have avenged the 2-0 defeat we suffered at the Stadium of Light amonth ago.
'I haven't changed my opinion about Darren Bent's move but it is time to be big boys and draw a line under it.'
Richardson, playing just behindAsamoah Gyan, had not scored this season, but the former ManchesterUnited man revelled in his attacking role, handing his shirt to aSunderland fan at the final whistle.
Hands up: Sunderland's Kieran Richardson (right) celebrates after scoring his side's second goal
Richardson was the catalyst for a victory which cemented Sunderland in sixth place. However, Blackpool manager Holloway raved about his midfield fulcrum, Charlie Adam, and railed at the clubs who want to lure him away.
Adam would have been on the scoresheet long before his 86th-minute penalty but for Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon.
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Explore more:People: Luke Varney, Darren Bent, Ian Holloway, Steve Bruce, Paul Rachubka, Marlon Harewood, Titus Bramble, Charlie Adam, Craig Gordon Places: Liverpool, Scotland