Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia could rest star striker Kenwyne Jones as he feels he is 'tired' and says 'it's beginning to show".The 24-year-old has looked a shadow of his usual self in recent weeks, and is without a goal in his last five games.Sbragia has been working with Jones and fellow frontman Djibril Cisse in an effort to mould them into an effective partnership after a run of games which has brought neither any tangible reward.He decided to play former Southampton striker Jones up front by himself at Manchester City on Sunday, and is now considering resting him all together with the Black Cats having won only two of their last 12 Premier League matches and scored just eight goals in the process.
Jones missed the early part of the season as he continued his recovery from the knee ligament injury he suffered on international duty during the summer, and Sbragia admits his fight for fitness is now taking its toll.Sbragia told the Sunderland Echo: "Kenwyne is tired. He's come back well for us and he's got us goals, but he's had a lot of games now and maybe it is beginning to show.
"He's having to nurse himself along and we aren't seeing him on the training pitch until Friday."Jones was a huge hit on Wearside during his first season after making a £6million move from the South Coast.He scored seven goals, but contributed much more, leading then manager Roy Keane to value him at a staggering £40million.However, he suffered a bad knee injury in a collision with England goalkeeper David James in June, and with the initial prognosis suggesting a lengthy spell on the sidelines, Keane signed Cisse on a season-long loan deal from Marseille.The Irishman admitted on Jones' return to action at the end of October that he did not know if the pair would be able to play together, and although they have managed 19 goals between them to date, his fears have proved well-founded.
Sunderland head for West Ham after the international break, and Sbragia will have a big decision to make with the Trinidad and Tobago international currently in the Caribbean, along with club-mates Carlos Edwards and Dwight Yorke, preparing for World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and the United States.
Sbragia said: "I have got a nucleus of 12 players for the next couple of weeks and we will work and train them, give them some time off and then look to see how everyone is next Thursday."We will look at the players and see how they come through things, and if we decide that some players need a rest, then we will look to give it to them if possible."Should Jones be rested, Cisse could be handed the lone striking role, although David Healy and Daryl Murphy are waiting in the wings for their chance too.