CREATING sufficient chances for Jermain Defoe is a much bigger headache for Gus Poyet, than when the striker will get back among the goals.
January signing Defoe will come up against former team-mate and manager Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa’s side today looking to end a run of four games without a goal.
Little blame can be attached to Defoe himself for that lean streak, with the service to the England international largely poor over recent weeks and Poyet using a conveyor belt of strike partners and systems in a bid to get the elusive win that would move Sunderland away from relegation danger.
Poyet immediately brushed off any fears about Defoe when asked if he was concerned by the barren run from the 31-year-old, who netted twice in his opening three Premier League outings for Sunderland.
But the head coach knows the supply lines need to be better for Defoe, with Sunderland going back to basics on the training ground this week to achieve that objective.
Poyet said: “If it was a situation where he (Defoe) was not in form or missing chances maybe, but I think it’s just a matter of time (before he starts scoring).
“I hope we can find a partnership and find a way of playing that will make Jermain have more chances than he has had.
“That’s the only issue.
“We have been working on that and trying to make things a bit more simple.
“Sometimes when you get a player like Jermain you are really trying to find a formula to get him into the game.
“It becomes too complicated, so we are trying to simplify things.”
There will certainly be no repeat of the set-up from last week’s draw at Hull, when Poyet named four central midfielders in his starting line-up, for what promised to be a scrappy tussle between two struggling sides.
Predictably, that left Defoe and strike partner Danny Graham starved of chances, with Sunderland struggling until the second half introduction of Patrick van Aanholt, Connor Wickham and Ricky Alvarez, who helped the Black Cats rescue a point.
“We have been working on different things,” added Poyet.
“It didn’t look so good against Hull with four in midfield, but I’m sure they will take something from that and what they need to improve in the future.”