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Time has come for Sunderland star to live up to the hype

Football FanCast columnist Rob Facey wonders whether this will be the season when Kenwyne Jones finally lives up to hype.

Kenwyne Jones is as good as Didier Drogba, according to new Sunderland boss Steve Bruce.

And he will be able to compare the two strikers tonight as Carlo Ancelotti's title contenders travel to the Stadium of Light for the second match of the season.

"Kenwyne's got a bit of Drogba about him, hasn't he?" Bruce said, as reported in The Times.

"If you catch him on his day then because of his physical presence, pace and power, he's unplayable. There's not many people physically as big as the boy."

Jones had a relatively hit-and-miss season last term, spending spells on the treatment table and, whenever rumours of interest from a big club, he had a habit of becoming rather self serving.

Bruce, however, is adamant that this will not be the case this season and is determined to get the best out of their highly rated marksman.

"What's happened before, I'm not really interested in," Bruce said.

"It's how I can get the best out of him. He'll have to do it because if he doesn't do it for me, he doesn't play. It's as simple as that. I don't stand on ceremony, they have to go and give everything they've got."

Bruce's side negotiated a potentially tricky trip to Bolton on Saturday and returned with 3 points hopefully pointing to better things for the coming season.

With Bent and Campbell brought in to bolster the frontline, the load has been lifted from Jones' shoulders although the pressure to perform remains.

He is genuinely one of the trickiest strikers to handle in the Premier League when he is on form.

This is the year where he lives up to the hype and fulfils his promise. It is no coincidence that his manager has given him a ringing endorsement – and a comparison to arguably the best striker in the league – the morning before they host the bookie's favourite for the title.

Sunderland are expected to move forward this season and have been tipped by many, albeit with a nudge and a wink, to challenge for the Europa League places this year.

If they really harbour ambitions of European nights at the Stadium of Light then they will need to get the best out of their key players. That starts tonight, in the form of Kenwyne Jones.

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    Article title: Time has come for Sunderland star to live up to the hype

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