Steve Bruce is hoping Kenwyne Jones can rediscover his best form and help Sunderland out of their recent rut after no deadline-day transfer materialised for the Trinidad and Tobago striker.
Liverpool were heavily linked with Jones for the duration of the winter window but no deal was struck and Jones instead led the line in a drab 0-0 with Stoke at the Stadium of Light on Monday night.
Jones was far from his inspirational best but showed enough of an improvement on his recent displays, which Bruce had attributed to the uncertainty over his future, to hint at a strong end to the campaign.
"I thought Kenwyne did much better (against Stoke)," said Bruce.
"It hasn't been easy with the constant speculation but I've repeatedly said that I'm trying to build a squad and a team here and the last thing I want to be doing is letting my good players go.
"It has been unsettling for him, I'm sure, but we can all get turned around now and forget about all that for a few months and get on with the job in hand."