Steve Bruce has revealed that Stephene Sessegnon will feature in Sunderland’s striking plans for next season, with the manager expecting bags of goals from the African.
Sessegnon found the net for Sunderland for the second time in two pre-season matches, in their 3-1 loss to Hannover 96 last night. While Bruce was disappointed to lose to the German outfit, he did single out Sessegnon for particular praise.
And despite the 27-year-old plying his trade in midfield, Bruce believes he could also serve well up front for the Black Cats.
“I was delighted with Stephane Sessegnon at the back end of last year,” Bruce said.
“Towards the end I thought he was really terrific. I think striker is his position, he’s quick and he’s got a goal in him. He can be a big, big player for us next season.”
While Bruce had hoped to take a win away from Hannover, the Sunderland manager insisted that there were a lot of positives to take from the match.
“We’re two weeks in, we’re playing against a good team who finished fourth in the Bundesliga,” Bruce admitted.
“I’m really, really delighted with some of the performances out there. Jack Colback was excellent again – he’s not giving up his place lightly.”
Bruce is clearly using the pre-season matches as a way to fine tune his tactics, and with newcomer Connor Wickham making his debut for Sunderland, the youngster will no doubt come into Bruce’s plans.
“All I’m looking at is fitness levels and trying to do a few things. And, of course, I’ve given an 18-year-old [Wickham] his debut.
“He looked very, very good and for a young boy he’s learning very quickly.
“The big thing for me was we got better and stronger in the second half.
“We’ve got four weeks still to go and we’ve worked extremely hard to be fair to the group.
“The camp has helped us. We’ve got to know each other a bit better, the lads have got to know what we require – even if the result isn’t what we wanted.”
Sunderland will now travel to Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday as their tour continues.