John O'Shea believes that Peter Crouch will pose the biggest threat to Sunderland's defence when his side take on Stoke City at the weekend.
Crouch has been in fine form since being restored to the starting line-up by Mark Hughes and he will be looking to keep up his impressive displays as this season progresses.
Stoke have more quality in their attacking ranks than ever before and Crouch knows that he will have to continue to play at his optimum standard to retain his place, but he seems to be thriving off the competition at the moment.
His form has caught the eye of O'Shea, too, who will be keeping a close eye on the England international forward tomorrow.
"Stoke can pass the ball as well," he said to the Sunderland Echo. “But definitely when they’ve got Crouch in their team – speaking to some of the Stoke lads who are away with Ireland – they seem to be a lot more cohesive.
“They seem to be able to link around him and read things a lot better, as you saw with Newcastle the other night.
“And with the goal he scored against QPR as well (last month’s 2-2 draw) he showed how he’s able to use his size to his advantage.
“You’re fully aware that if they get into crossing positions, we’ll have to keep an eye on him.”
Stoke have caught the eye this season, as they continue to mould into Hughes' style of play and move away from the long-ball tactics that they had became famed for.
Although Crouch offers them a presence up-front, he is not as isolated as he was previously and there is far more thought to their attacking approach now.
The likes of Marko Arnautovic, Victor Moses and Mame Biram Diouf are all talented players who offer creativity to the side and the service that the 33-year-old is getting has meant he has shown his best form in a long-time.
Sunderland will be hoping to stop him as they look for their first win of the campaign, but O'Shea already knows he will have to be at the top of the game.