Bent likely to sit out Hammers clash

Bruce will hand record signing Asamoah Gyan a first start for the

club in tonight’s third-round clash at the Stadium of Light.

However, that looks unlikely to come alongside Bent, who took his

tally for the new campaign to six for club and country with the

late leveller against Arsenal on Saturday. The 26-year-old, who now

has 30 goals to his name for the club in just 46 appearances since

moving north from Tottenham for an initial £10million, could

find himself spared duty with Liverpool and Manchester United

waiting in the wings in the next two Premier League games. Bruce

said: “I don’t think it’s a rest – cotton wool comes to mind. I

don’t think it’s a rest at this part of the season. “Make no

mistake, we have some people who need games – Bolo Zenden, for

instance, is one, Asamoah Gyan is another, it might be a game to

have a look at young Jack Colback – those type of people need a

game. “Darren wants to play in every game, but you want him playing

against Manchester United and Liverpool. “That’s my fear, not

resting him at this particular moment. “He wants to be involved in

every game, he wants to be involved and score a goal, that’s

Darren.” Sunderland are once again proving redoubtable opponents at

the Stadium of Light this season having faced both Manchester City

and the Gunners already and emerged with four points. By contrast,

the Hammers will arrive on Wearside having won just once to date in

the new campaign, their 1-0 second round victory over npower League

Two Oxford. But they did return from Stoke with a first league

point at the weekend and while they remain rooted to the foot of

the table, Bruce has warned they will be no pushover. He said: “You

look at them and they have got an England goalkeeper, an England

centre-back, an England midfield player and an England

centre-forward, so they have got good players. “We are playing

against a Premier League team in the cup. We know they have had a

bit of an awful start – anybody is capable of having a poor start

in this division and West Ham have found that. “But they will be

looking to kick-start their season. I am more concerned about us

and making sure we stay at the level we have seen over the last

couple of weeks, especially at home.” West Ham are now run by the

regime with which Bruce had such a spectacular difference of

opinion during his time at Birmingham, but he insists that is now

ancient history. He said: “No, no, no, all that’s gone, all that

stuff has gone. I have got no interest in it.”