Darren Bent believes Sunderland will be a force to be reckoned with this season after his debut goal secured an impressive opening-day victory at Bolton.
The £10million signing from Tottenham superbly dispatched Steed Malbranque's cross in the fifth minute to give Steve Bruce a winning start to his reign.
Bent said: "All week Steve Bruce had drummed it into us that it wouldn't be Bolton's football that would beat us, but them bullying us. Anton (Ferdinand) and Danny Collins were fantastic and we really fought hard and competed. That's what got us the victory."
Bent's pace was a constant threat to the Bolton backline and could have easily had a hat-trick, although he was happy to settle for one.
Bent said: "I've had it drummed into me that the most important goal is the first one. When you've got the first one then hopefully the second and third aren't too far away.
"People bang on about the statistics but I'm just delighted to find the back of the net and hopefully there will be many more for me."
A successful season at the Stadium of Light could yet secure Bent a place in Fabio Capello's World Cup squad when England, as seems inevitable, head to South Africa next summer.
"It would be nice but at the same time all the other England strikers are doing well," added Bent.
"(Jermain) Defoe got two the other day (against Holland) but as long as I'm playing regularly for Sunderland I'll be happy.
"My first target is holding down a place in the Sunderland first-team and if I can do that hopefully the goals will come."
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