Roy Keane insists that Kenwyne Jones will not be sold in the January transfer window.
The Trinidad & Tobago international arrived at the Stadium of Light in August from Southampton in a £6million deal.
The 23-year-old has taken little time to settle into life in the North East, bagging four goals in seven league starts.
A number of clubs, including Liverpool, are reported to be keeping close tabs on Jones but Keane has already warned off any interested parties.
"Kenwyne is a big player for us and has taken on the responsibility like a true man," said Keane.
"He's made a lot of progress in a short period of time.
"If he continues in the form he's in I would expect some calls when the transfer window opens.
"There are not that many big targetmen out there and the fact he's also quick, has a good touch and is scoring goals makes it obvious that people will identify him.
"He's quickly become a marked man but it's one thing spotting his threat - but quite another stopping him."
Jones himself insists he is not thinking about anything other than Sunderland.
"The attention doesn't bother me," said Jones.
"As fast as you get such attention, you can lose it again so I'm taking no notice.
"I'm just concentrating on trying to become a better footballer. No matter what you do, there's no point if you don't aspire to be better at it. I'm 23, I hope I will still get better and better."