Fabio Borini has been challenged to fire the goals to keep Sunderland in the Premier League after netting only twice during 2016 so far.
Borini scored from the penalty spot and laid on a goal for Jermain Defoe moments later in Sunderland’s last away outing at Norwich, with the Black Cats returning to the road at Stoke City this weekend.
However, while the Italian’s work-rate has remained high throughout his second spell at the Stadium of Light, he has only scored four goals – two of which have arrived in the last seven games.
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce admitted: “He doesn’t convert as many opportunities as I’d like him to.
“But the pleasing thing is how many chances he gets for himself.
“I thought at Norwich he crossed some really good balls - not just the one Jermain scored off.
“There were a few in the first half that he whipped in which caused Norwich a lot of problems.”
Borini’s modest tally still makes him second in the goalscoring ranks for Sunderland this season, with Allardyce concerned that the burden of goals overwhelmingly remains on the shoulders of top scorer Jermain Defoe.
Sunderland have failed to find the net in each of their last three home games and with the Black Cats probably requiring another two wins in the relegation battle, Allardyce admits it’s playing on his mind.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to convert one of those chances we got against Arsenal,” the manager added.
“For me, it was disappointing we didn’t score and win the game 1-0.
“I have to be slightly concerned that we haven’t scored at home in the last three games.
“Considering one of those was West Brom when we had 22 efforts on goal, as a manager, you have to be concerned by that.
“I’ve explained that to the lads and said they have to be more clinical.
“We cannot rely on Jermain Defoe all the time. Someone else must take responsibility.
“If we can do that, I’m sure we can get enough points to stay safe.”
Defoe has scored 16 goals this season – 13 in the league – with Borini and Duncan Watmore on four apiece.