Sam Allardyce says this man must improve to hold down a regular first-team spot

The Sunderland manager says Fabio Borini would be playing every week if he consistently scored goals, and questions who he would drop to play the Italian striker.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has told reporters, via the club's official website, that Fabio Borini needs to become a more consistent source of goals if he is to be selected in attack on a regular basis.

The Italian, who was signed for around £8 million by Allardyce's predecessor at the Stadium of Light, Dick Advocaat, scored a fine late equaliser to save a point for the Black Cats in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.

That was just the 24-year-old's third goal of the season, and his first of 2016, and his new boss says that he must begin to perform more consistently if he is to be selected regularly.

Allardyce told reporters, via the club's official website: "Fabio has been like anybody else, he's had to patient to get back in because the quality of player has increased.

"Who do the supporters want me to drop for him? It's always something that when somebody makes an impact like that they want to be played. Fabio, if he can continue to score goals, would never be out of the side."

Borini has started just 13 Premier League matches this season with Jermain Defoe being preferred as the club's lone striker, and the January signings of Dame N'Doye and Wahbi Khazri have increased the competition for attacking places in Allardyce's XI.

The former Liverpool striker's equaliser on Tuesday night was his first important goal of the season, after his previous two came as mere consolations in defeats to Chelsea and Manchester City in December.

His latest strike lifted the Black Cats out of the relegation zone on goal difference with 10 matches of the season remaining.

Sunderland next face a trip to Southampton on Saturday before a crucial Tyne-Wear derby in two weeks' time.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch