Bruce confident of Cats backing

Bruce, who arrived at the Stadium of Light last June, enjoyed

success at the start of the season as his team won five of their

first nine league games to foster hopes on Wearside of a possible

run at the European places. However, just one win since November

has meant the Black Cats sit 13th in the table and three points

away from the relegation places. Bruce acknowledges such a

prolonged loss of form brings extra scrutiny but is unmoved in his

belief that the club’s hierarchy are wholly behind him. “I

understand [the pressure]. I’m six months into the job and you do

hope you are given time,” he said. “I said at the start I hope that

the people I work for, and I’m truly convinced they are, are

sensible enough to say ‘hang on a minute let’s judge the fella and

give him a bit of time’. “We need to win a game but I’m the same

manager that got the club off to the best start in 35 years. “Now

we are on an awful run – it can happen, this is the Premier

League.” Sunderland’s last league victory came thanks to a 1-0 win

over Arsenal at the Stadium of Light nearly three months ago, and

with his side preparing for the return fixture at the Emirates on

Saturday, Bruce is keenly aware of the need for a positive result.

“The way football is now it is my turn at the minute, we haven’t

won in 12 games and it is there for everybody to see,” he said. “In

those 12 we have drawn six so we’ve been close, we’ve conceded four

times in the last five minutes and that has cost us. “If that

happens to you once in a season you tear your hair out but it has

happened four times. “We do know we are close but unfortunately it

hasn’t quite happened. The one thing you do have to remain positive

and hopefully get out of it. “I have seen little signs. In the last

seven games Chelsea have beaten us, Everton have beaten us but we

have drawn five and that could have quite easily been two or three

wins and then the whole table looks a bit better. “I hope we can go

and play the way I know we can play and if we can get a positive

result at Arsenal it will give everybody a lift.” One encouraging

aspect for the Sunderland boss has been the return to form of

striker Kenwyne Jones in the club’s past two games. The 25-year-old

was the subject of a number of transfer rumours during the January

transfer window, with Bruce admitting at the time that interest

from potential suitors had had an unsettling effect on the Trinidad

and Tobago international. However, with the transfer window now

shut Bruce is pleased the influential forward is showing signs of

the kind of form that made him the subject of such attention in the

first place. “The last two games he has played have been the best

in my reign here,” he said. “He got his goal against Wigan and he

was fantastic down at Portsmouth not just as a centre forward, but

also in his own box too. “He has played well in the last two games

which I’m absolutely delighted about.”