Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia insists David Healy has a big part to play at the Stadium of Light.
Healy was given a rare start in the midweek FA Cup replay defeat to Blackburn and he took his chance by scoring at Ewood Park.
Sbragia rested first-choice strike duo Kenwyne Jones and Djibril Cisse at Blackburn to give Healy a chance and he has been impressed by the Northern Ireland hit-man.
"He has done really well," said Sbragia. "He is player who seems to be in the right place at the right time in the 18-yard box and he can put it away.
"He is clinical in that area and he seems to get himself two or three chances.
"We have been pleased with his overall work rate and his team play in general has been good."
Sbragia has admitted he has talked to the former Fulham star to reassure him over his future on Wearside.
"Yeah we spoke about seven or eight weeks ago," added Sbragia. "He was a bit down in the dumps and I told him of the importance we felt in the squad, we needed him.
"He was not there just to be a number, but he was there to push the other two.
"That showed in that we didn't let him go in the window. He has that little knack of scoring goals and we need that at present."
BackingSbragia also believes the burgeoning strike partnership between Jones and Cisse is a work in progress.
"I think it takes time, some people click instantly. They have taken a little longer, but the good thing about them both is they are scoring goals," added Sbragia.
"I would be more concerned if we didn't score or if they weren't scoring.
"A lot of people criticise that they don't work too well as unit but they seem to cause defenders problems individually as well.
"We just maybe need a little more off them off the ball, but I would not like to hinder the fact that it stops them scoring as I think they are here to score goals."