The Irish striker declared: "We know that at a club as big as Sunderland, everyone has to expect competition for places.
"Everyone would love to be guaranteed a place every week, but you need competition if you are to get the very best out of yourself. The manager has told us we should welcome competition rather than fear it. It is important that he looks to improve his squad all the time and the challenge for everyone at the club is that they manage to raise their own standards to keep up.
"I have seen a lot of new strikers come to the club since I first joined, but I think that has been good for me. You learn from other players and it avoids any complacency.
"Certainly if you look around the squad these days, we are getting to the stage where there’s top-quality competition for every single place in the side.
"And that can only be good for Sunderland Football Club."