Steve Bruce has been full of praise for Sunderland's strike force after a 2-1 friendly victory over Kilmarnock on Wednesday night, with summer signing Connor Wickham already making an impression.
Former Ipswich striker Wickham and African striker Stephane Sessegnon bagged the goals for the Black Cats in Ayrshire, and the Sunderland boss is now convinced that his squad has the attacking potency it needs for the new campaign.
Bruce singled out new boy Wickham, who joined for a fee which will rise to £12m, after the teenager claimed his first goal at the club, saying: “It was a great move and a great finish from Connor.
“It was good for him to get his first goal, even if it was only a pre-season friendly. He’s scored the winner in a game for Sunderland and that will definitely have given him a little lift as he travelled home.
“He’ll be cock-a-hoop at his first goal and it will relieve any pressure that he might have been putting on himself."
Bruce went on to praise Sessegnon, who signed for Sunderland in January and has scored three goals so far in an impressive pre-season. “Stephane proved last year that his best position is striker, and in my eyes that’s how I see him," Bruce continued.
“He will count as one of our four strikers and I’m pleased with what we’ve got there. We’ve got a bit of a threat, and each one of them offers us something different. On top of that, he’s started adding the goals, as well – both at the end of last season as well as pre-season – and the way things are going I am confident that he can get us 12 or 15 goals this season.
“Some of his movement and touch at Kilmarnock was terrific. He is a very, very good player. He oozes class and he is difficult to play against because he is strong and he’s got a very low centre of gravity."
Bruce wasn't the only one happy to see the 27-year-old continue his good performance at the front for the Black Cats. Asamoah Gyan, whose home country of Ghana lies some 50 miles from Sessegnon's Benin, also praised his teammate with whom he has a long history dating back to their time together in Ligue 1.
“I’m happy for Stephane that it is going so well for him but this is no surprise to me," said the striker. “I know him from our days in France and he is a very good player and very dangerous in front of goal. He proved himself at the end of last season in the Premiership and it just confirms what I was saying last season that he would be a very good signing for the team.
“He knows how to hold the ball up, he knows how to create chances for himself and for others and as a striker I feel we can work together well."