Sunderland's Kenwyne Jones eyes goal flurry to ensure European football
26 September 2009 01:45
The Trinidad & Tobago international scored 12 goals last season despite a serious knee injury and he is confident that he can eclipse that total for Steve Bruce's team this term.
Jones, who turns 25 next month, has two goals to his name but he has not scored in six outings following a brace that gave Sunderland a 2-1 victory over Blackburn a month ago at the Stadium of Light.
He will be looking to end his barren run when Mick McCarthy brings his Wolverhampton Wanderers side to Wearside on Sunday when victory would ensure Sunderland were sitting pretty among the teams jostling for European football.
"I want to go much better than last season and hopefully that will be at least 15 goals," Jones said. "I really want to fulfil my potential and hopefully I will be able to do much more for the team. If I was being ambitious then 20 goals would be great."
Jones turned down the chance to join Tottenham last season and he is convinced he has made the right decision thanks to the investment of the club's Irish-American owner Ellis Short and the leadership of chairman Niall Quinn.
"Sunderland has the potential to be a massive club, a top-seven team in the Premier League at least," Jones added.
"I have said before that the owner (Ellis Short), the chairman (Niall Quinn) and everyone at the club has a lot of ambition and I wanted to be part of that."
Despite his popularity among Sunderland supporters, Bruce has warned that Jones - who Roy Keane signed from Southampton for Â£6 million two years ago - can not take his place for granted. When asked about Jones' position during his pre-match media briefing, Bruce made it clear that he can not rest of his laurels.
"One thing you want is competition and that keeps everyone on their toes more than I can," Bruce said.
"There is very healthy competition here and that is great for the club, even Jordan Henderson, who is now knocking on the door. His stats are unbelievable and the energy he rings to the team is incredible."
With a fully-fit squad to choose from Bruce faces a number of selection dilemmas ahead of McCarthy's return to the club he once managed. The most important people for me on Saturday are the ones who do not play. That is always the difficulty of management and that's why I wanted a smaller squad," Bruce added.
"Before we had 28 players and eight or ten were not involved in Saturday and that can't be right. If they had anything about them they would be causing mayhem. In PL you can only pick 11 and I have got 18 to pick from.
"There are people who are not going to be happy but that's my job. Any manager would love to be in my position when you upset people if I need to, but it is only because we played extremely well against Birmingham the other night."
Bruce continued: "Sometimes I pin a team up and sometimes go into a practice match and they'll have an idea. I won't be revealing my hand today because otherwise I will have eight players upset and disappointed. I will keep them thinking.
"I used to knock the door down. I didn't get very far. I used to wait and see if he was in a good mood or not. If there was a cough I didn't go in. It is part and parcel of management and what you do. I got judged on that. If we get beat I'll be judged on that."