NICKLAS BENDTNER has already convinced Steve Bruce to push for a permanent deal next summer, but the Sunderland manager fears there will be significant interest in the Denmark striker from home and abroad.

Bendtner's season long loan move to the Stadium of Light has had a timely impact on his international form, scoring five goals in as many matches for his country since joining Sunderland on August 31.

The latest of those goals arrived in victories over Sweden and Finland in the last eight days, with Bruce quick to hear from Denmark coach Morten Olsen just how good the 23-year-old was.

Bendtner has not been able to find the net that regularly in his seven outings for the Black Cats, but his performances have been to a high standard and has brought another dimension to the team's attacking play.

He will be in the starting line-up against Fulham this afternoon, when he is hoping to add to his two goals in a Sunderland shirt. But Bruce has already seen enough to want to keep him beyond this season.

He knows though, having witnessed Danny Welbeck make the most of his season-long loan move to Wearside last season before returning to Manchester United, that he can't bank on keeping him too early.

"I've made no secret that we'd love to sign him," said Bruce. "It's going to be one of those again, the better he does, certainly internationally, people are looking at him.

"Apparently his performance against Sweden was outstanding, that was the report I got from Morten Olsen, but he's another one who has benefited from coming here and is enjoying it.

"He was out of the picture at Arsenal and all of a sudden he's playing. We've got to make sure he keeps enjoying himself here and we get the best from him."

Bendtner is still contracted to Arsenal for a further two seasons after this one, with the likes of Sevilla and AC Milan two of the clubs from abroad to have considered a move for him in the recent past.

Arsenal are likely to look for a fee in the region of around £8m for him, but that could increase if he was to continue in the same sort of form that he is in now.

"We would like to take him and the conversation is one that will probably take place in five or six months time," he said. "At the moment, Nick is doing very well for us and I hope he'll continue with that."

With Connor Wickham sidelined with a knee injury for a number of weeks, there is an even greater need for Bendtner to keep delivering than there was just a few weeks ago.

Fraizer Campbell has been making steady progress, but the reality is that strikers are going to be in short supply at the Stadium of Light until he returns - which is expected to be around Christmas.

Ji Dong-Won has is back from international duty with South Korea without an injury, but he is unlikely to be risked after the long haul flights on an afternoon when he is likely to have started alongside Bendtner.

South Korean coach Kwang-Rae Cho was critical of Ji's form and fitness, but Bruce said: "I don't want to get involved in an argument with the coach, but I haven't played Ji when he comes back form international duty yet.

"Of course you can do it, but the levels required in the Premier League and international football are high, he's gone from here to Korea and then Dubai all within a matter of days. Physically, it takes it out of you and I can understand that."

Given how Ji will not be risked from the start and the injuries to Wickham and Campbell, Bruce is seriously considering involving young striker Ryan Noble.

Noble scored an 11-minute treble on Wednesday night to help Sunderland defeat Newcastle. It was the 19-year-old's first full match since recovering from a long-standing back problem and he has been included in today's match-day squad.

But Bruce thinks Sunderland-born Noble, who made three substitute appearances last season, still has a lot to do to force his way in to the first team picture more regularly - starting by hitting the protein shakes.

"He just needs to fill out and develop but he's still a young lad," said Bruce. "You get some lads who develop when they're 18. He hasn't but it will come.

"He's quick and he wants to score and he's a bit of a throwback in that respect. He's one of them and he was delighted to score the other night.

"It might not be a steak diet these days, but they have all sorts of drinks. The one thing you can't do is beat nature. You can make them stronger but we've got to be a bit patient with him because when he develops then he's going to be a very good player. I hope he stays injury free."