Steve Bruce hopes Asamoah Gyan can reproduce his performance for Ghana midweek when Sunderland meet Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday.
Gyan starred for Ghana at Wembley last Tuesday, notching the late equaliser against England and producing a display which City’s England internationals Gareth Barry, Joe Hart and, most of all, centre-half Joleon Lescott, will have duly noted.
“Asa was great for England and if City didn’t know all about him before, they will now,” Bruce said on Friday.
“Obviously the City lads will know all about him, but it’s one thing knowing the danger and another stopping it and if Gyan’s in the same form on Sunday he’ll be a constant threat to them.”
“I’m hoping all three Ghanaians at the club will still be on a high for the game against City.”
“And that extra day’s rest with the game being played on a Sunday could be quite a key factor in terms of them recuperating and we’re hoping to see them at their best.”
Gyan has failed to sparkle in Sunderland’s last three games – matches in which the Black Cats have drawn a blank each time.
But the club’s record signing will at least have reinforcements to play alongside him this weekend.
“We’ve got Danny Welbeck back now and Fraizer Campbell available from the bench this weekend,” Bruce said.
“It’s a great boost, no doubt for Asamoah as much as anyone because he carries out that lone striker role so well but maybe we’ve been putting too much pressure on his shoulders asking him to play it for so long.”
“I’m sure he’ll be delighted to have Danny and Fraizer available to play alongside him.”
Bruce wants his players to produce one more big performance against the last of the Premier League’s leading lights this weekend.
The Sunderland boss reckons a good result against the world’s richest club would set the Wearsiders up perfectly for a run-in which could yield a real points bonus at the tail end of the campaign.
“Manchester City are the last of the big hitters, so to speak, that we face this season,” he said.
“What we need is a performance like the one we had against Arsenal recently where we went down to the Emirates and came away with a good draw.”
“If we go down there and play well and have a go then we’re more than capable of getting a good result.”
“We are looking forward to the challenge this weekend brings because we do have players coming back from injury and we are looking in increasingly better shape.”
City have injuries and suspension and Bruce knows that might benefit his team but he is pinning his hopes on a good Sunderland display rather than a poor City one.
“Manchester City have four or five players out and that disrupts even their squad,” he accepted.
“But we know how difficult opposition they’ll be at the weekend.”
“Everywhere you look on the pitch they’ve got quality players. So we know we have to be at our best if we are to get something out of it.”
“However, there’s no point in worrying about City’s strengths or weaknesses too much. We’ve just got to get out there and give a really good account of ourselves.”
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