STEVEN FLETCHER hopes his Crystal Palace comeback goal will spark a scoring run akin to the one he enjoyed at the start of last season.
Fletcher’s second half header was one of the few positives to emerge from Saturday’s dismal 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace, as the Scotland international returned to the fold after five months on the sidelines.
The 26-year-old netted five times in his first four Premier League outings last season after his £12million move from Wolves.
And with Sunderland desperate for Fletcher’s goals, after just a solitary point from the opening three games, the frontman is ready to take that responsibility.
“If I can start like I did last season, then I’ll be very happy and I think the fans will too,” said Fletcher.
“But we’ve got a lot of good players in the team who can bring goals - Adam (Johnson) and little (Emanuele) Giaccherini.
“If they can chip in as well, then that will be good.
“Obviously we need goals in the team and if I can bring that, then that’s what I love to do.
“Jozy Altidore was out of the team on Saturday, it was disappointing that he was injured. But hopefully we can do well together.”
Half-time substitute Fletcher admits it will take him more games to return to match fitness after being ruled out of the tail end of last season with ankle ligament damage.
But he showed few ill-effects of that lay-off in the second half on Saturday, as he headed home Jack Colback’s pinpoint cross to cancel out Danny Gabbidon’s scrappy opener for Palace.
Sunderland were punished by John O’Shea’s clanger though, as the skipper brought down Palace striker Dwight Gayle to earn both a red card and concede a spot-kick.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been playing so it’s obviously nice to get a goal,” added Fletcher.
“It’s just a shame that we couldn’t come away with anything for our efforts.
“I’ve been working hard in training to come back and I’ve just been waiting for my chance.
“The ankle feels good.”