Ghanaian international Asamoah Gyan is ready to take on the West Ham United defence in tonight’s Carling Cup third round clash at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is set to hand the £13million striker his first start for the club since signing from Rennes on the final day of the transfer window.
Gyan has been building up his fitness following his eye-catching exploits for Ghana in the World Cup last summer, where scored three times to help his country reach the quarter-final.
He made an immediate impact for the Wearsiders when coming off the bench at Wigan ten days ago to score a spectacular volley.
The 24-year-old had a hand in Darren Bent’s last gasp goal against Arsenal on Saturday and earlier forced a good save from the Arsenal keeper with a header soon after coming on a second half substitute.
Victor Chandler is offering odds of 11/2 for Gyan to score the first goal tonight, a bet that is bound to prove very popular.
While Bruce has stated the cup competitions will be high on his priorities this season he is likely to make a few changes to give some of the squad the chance to gain match experience.
Midfielders Andy Reid and Bolo Zenden came on as substitutes against Arsenal and are in contention for a start, as is promising youngster Jack Colbeck.
Skipper Lee Catermole misses out through suspension while first choice central defensive duo John Mensah and Michael Turner are still recovering from injury.
Keeper Craig Gordon has resumed full training after breaking his arm but this game comes a week to soon and he will sit this one out.
Striker Fraizer Campbell and midfielder David Meyler are sidelined with long term knee injuries.
West Ham are 4/1 with Bet365 as they look to build morale after gaining their first Premier League point away to Stoke at the weekend.
Midfielders Valon Behrami (knee) and Thomas Hitzlsperger (thigh) both received knocks at the Britannia Stadium and are doubtful for tonight.
Central defender Tal Ben Heim missed the Stoke game but is set to return to the SoL where he had a loan spell under former Sunderland manager Roy Keane.
Manager Avram Grant is without the services of Zavon Hines, Jack Collison and Peter Kurucz who are sidelined with long term knee injuries.