Steve Bruce believes Kenwyne Jones is rediscovering the form that made him one of the most feared strikers in the Premier League.
The 25-year-old impressed upon arrival from Southampton for what seemed, at the time, a hefty £6million in summer 2007.
The Trinidad and Tobago international top-scored that season with seven league goals, but despite grabbing 12 goals in all competitions last time out there was a feeling among fans that the striker could have done even more.
The question marks over his form did not stop Tottenham chasing the frontman in January, but having scored five goals from six starts this term Bruce feels Jones is back to his best.
"Kenwyne is looking more like his old self," Bruce told the Sunderland Echo.
"For a few months last season, even I was looking - from afar, because I was at Wigan - and thinking 'go on Kenwyne, can you find the form that made you probably one of the most feared centre-forwards in the league?
"Because when he is at it, that's what he is. And he looks like he is getting back to that again."
New-found spiritDespite Jones forming a formidable partnership with summer signing Darren Bent, the pair have scored 12 of the Black Cats 16 league goals this season, Bruce insists he still doesn't know what his best attacking line-up is.
"I probably don't know my best pairing yet. It's horses for courses," he added.
"It's a long hard season and the players are bound to pick up knocks, a suspension or fall out of form.
"I haven't formulated anything just yet. But the one thing I have noticed with Benty, Fraizer (Campbell) and Kenwyne is that they enjoy playing with each other.
"That's important - there's a friendship and a respect coming between them.
"When Benty allowed Kenwyne to take the penalty against Wolves, I wasn't happy but it was a sign of the spirit that's coming within the squad.
"Could you see Djibril Cisse throwing the ball to Kenwyne last season? I don't think so."