Off-field friendship results in ideal goal-scoring partnership

20 February 2010 09:09
KENWYNE JONES believes that his strike partnership with Darren Bent owes much of its success to their friendship off the field.

The 22 league goals produced by the pair have helped prevent Sunderland's stuttering season from becoming a disaster.

While question marks hang over almost every other position in Steve Bruce's team, the one department that continues to deliver is his strikeforce.

Jones has drawn praise for his performances this month, with Bruce noting that in the most recent outings, against Portsmouth and Wigan Athletic, the Trinidad and Tobago international looked like a proper striker.

His recent form has belied any suggestions that he was unsettled by reports he was set to join Liverpool last month.

Bent has gone so far as to hail Jones as the best striker he has played alongside in his club career. With the likes of Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov among the accomplished forwards Bent has partnered, his warm words reflected the high regard he has for for his Sunderland team-mate's attacking talents.

It's nice that Darren said he thought I was the best striker he's played alongside so I'll say thanks to him for that, said Jones.

I think we have a decent relationship and I try to maximise his strength and we work well together, so hopefully that can continue.

I think for any relationship in life, in all sectors of your life, you need to get on.

Darren and I try to keep a strong spirit and it tells on the pitch. Whatever your job spec you must enjoy every day. We are trying to work towards some happiness.

The team have struggled to bring joy to the Wearside faithful, although a run of three successive draws has restored some belief in time for today's trip to the Emirates.

Jones said Sunderland's positive approach against the Premier League's best sides was key to their earlyseason success and he was happy to see that Bruce will employ an attacking formation today.

We're not going to change how we play. We have been positive against the big-four clubs and we'll be doing that again. We certainly don't have any fear of going to Arsenal. We know that they are a terrific side but all we can do is give it our best, he said.

Jones insists this season's highly-competitive Premier League has made the top division increasingly like the Championship, where results are becoming more difficult to predict.

Sunderland would prove Jones' point if they can do the double over Arsene Wenger's third-placed side.

I think its important that we all fight as hard as we can and take ourselves out of the zone we are in,'' he said.

The Premier League has become like the Championship this season.

It's tight and between now and the end of the season the teams that are on top of us could drop form and two, three four wins can take us up.

We've had a good period turn into indifferent turn into rocky, so hopefully we can get the whole squad fit and move up.

Source: Northern_Echo