Cattermole keen to repay Bruce

Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole is determined to finish the season strongly and repay Steve Bruce for the faith the boss has shown in him.

The Black Cats have slipped back into the relegation dogfight following a dismal run of form that has increased the pressure on Bruce.

Cattermole is still full of admiration for the way his boss is handling the situation and has vowed to do everything he can to pull the club clear of trouble.

A victory over Wigan on Saturday would be the ideal time for Sunderland to start their recovery, and Cattermole has a special reason for wanting to do well against his former club.

The midfielder was sent off the last time the teams met – his second red card inside a fortnight having only just been given the captaincy.

Cattermole admits he was worried that Bruce would hand somebody else the armband, but instead he stuck by the 23-year-old.

"He didn’t speak to me for about 10 days after the Wigan game, but I didn’t want to speak to him," Cattermole said in the Daily Star.

"We weren’t blanking each other – we still said hello – but he knew I needed space.

"I didn’t speak to anyone for the whole week. I was coming in, training hard and taking my frustrations out there.

"Then, when I could play again, he pulled me to one side for the game at Liverpool and said, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. Go out and play your normal game’, so I went out and played well.

"The Wigan sending off was embarrassing, but he stuck by me and never doubted me."

Cattermole added: "I’ll never change the way I play, it’s got me where I am now. If I didn’t play that way, the manager wouldn’t have bought me or made me captain.

"He thinks I can set the tone for the game and it rubs off on others. I do accept sometimes I have to change my decision-making and stay on my feet, but it’s easier said than done."

Sunderland are just five points above the relegation zone going into Saturday’s clash but Cattermole is convinced that Bruce is the right man to lead them to safety.

"We’re going through a sticky patch," he said.

"But he’s come out and said if there’s any stick flying around, he wants it to be aimed at him.

"He’s been brilliant and it would be nice to finish the season off strongly for him.

"I feel confident things are turning and we can still finish in the top 10."