Patience paying off for Bruce

Bruce monitored the Ghana international’s situation for some time,

and at one point thought he had lost him to Fenerbahce, before he

managed to pull off a £13million-plus swoop during the summer.

Gyan made his first Premier League start against Stoke on Saturday

and plundered a match-winning double to reward the manager’s faith

in him, and his contribution could hardly have been more timely.

Twenty-four hours earlier, Darren Bent, the man he had been bought

to play alongside, had pulled up in training with a hamstring

injury which is likely to sideline him for several weeks. Bent, of

course, scored 25 goals last season and already had eight of the

club’s 14 to date in the current campaign to his name – Gyan has

four and the other two were own goals – and his absence and that of

injured youngster Fraizer Campbell would have been an even bigger

blow had the former Rennes man not been ready, willing and able to

take up the baton. Bruce said: “It was always my fear when we let

Kenwyne [Jones] go and took the money, and then what happened then

with Fraizer, we were very, very light. “My big concern was if

something happened to Darren – he had not missed a game in 18

months – then had we got adequate firepower? “We have proved that

with Gyan, we have. He is going to be a hell of an acquisition. “He

has had a great start. He has had to be patient and wait for it,

but he has already got four goals, and to get two on his first

start was terrific.” Sunderland’s win over Stoke was deserved, if

slightly controversial, although the stakes will be raised

considerably at White Hart Lane as Spurs attempt to bounce back

from their post-Champions League defeat at Bolton at the weekend.

The Black Cats desperately needed a victory in the wake of the

derby drubbing at Newcastle, and they travel to London determined

to address a poor away record which is hampering their efforts to

establish themselves in the top half of the table. Bruce said: “We

keep talking about it, but we are not alone in it, you know.

“Stoke, Fulham, Blackburn, Wigan – I can give you umpteen where

people find it difficult to win in this league. “That’s why it is

as tough a league as it is. This Barclays Premier League is as

tough as I have ever known it. “Every team is competitive – as we

have seen again, from Blackpool (drawing with Everton) to Wolves

losing (to Manchester United) in the last minute – it’s a great

league we are in and to be up sitting where we are at the moment, I

am very, very pleased.” If Sunderland are to get a result at Spurs,

they will have to find a way of dealing with man of the moment

Gareth Bale, who terrorised Inter Milan in midweek to further

enhance his growing reputation. Bruce said: “Sometimes you shoot to

stardom in the Champions League. He is young enough and what we all

witnessed was a fantastic performance and it has shot him on to

everybody’s radar. “Obviously, he is a class act, the kid. He is

the right age and he looks a very, very good player indeed.” Bent

and defender John Mensah, who damaged a shoulder on Saturday, are

likely to miss out, but Titus Bramble is available after

suspension.