Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe keen to get back on target in remaining pre-season games

Jermain Defoe.
Jermain Defoe.

Jermain Defoe is eager to hit the ground running at the start of the season by adding to his pre-season goals tally in Sunderland’s final two friendlies.

Defoe and his Sunderland team-mates reassembled at the Academy of Light this morning after Dick Advocaat gave them a breather over the weekend, following the squad’s return from a two-week long tour of North America.

But we want to get off to a good start to the season as a team too.

Sunderland played three friendlies during their time on the other side of the Atlantic, and now face just two warm-up games before the Premier League gets underway in less than a fortnight.

Advocaat’s men head to League One Doncaster on Wednesday night, before travelling to Germany to face Hannover 96 next weekend.

But while nothing is riding on the two encounters, striker Defoe - who scored twice against former club Toronto last week - wants to keep finding the net so he can make his mark in the early stages of the new season.

Defoe told the Echo: “I always try to get off to a good start really.

“I want to make sure I’m ready for those first few games and make sure I’m sharp.

“Sometimes it helps when you manage to get a few goals in pre-season, just in terms of confidence.

“But we want to get off to a good start to the season as a team too.

“Obviously if I can contribute and nick a few goals early on, then that obviously helps.”

Defoe looked sharper against Toronto after being used in an orthodox two man attack, in a 4-3-1-2 set-up.

The England striker had made his feelings clear about being used on the left flank in a 4-3-3 during the two friendlies in California, when Sunderland had struggled to muster a goal threat.

“The shape seemed to be better in the last match, because it’s something the players are obviously used to,” he added.

“It was a bit laboured at times, but we managed to create a few chances.”

Meanwhile, Sunderland Under-21s will travel to non-league Boston tomorrow night for their penultimate pre-season friendly after a 3-1 win over Scottish side Hamilton on Saturday.

Charis Mavrias, who featured along with fellow first-team exile Valentin Roberge, netted a brace for Robbie Stockdale’s side, with striker Mikael Mandron also on the scoresheet.