Bruce: I'm the right man for Cats

BY foxsports • April 15, 2011

The 50-year-old found himself in the firing line last Saturday as a home defeat by West Brom extended the Black Cats' winless Premier League run to eight games and left them perched precariously just above the developing scrap for top-flight safety. It was all in stark contrast to the prevailing emotions on Wearside just a few months ago when Sunderland were contesting a top-six spot and dreaming of a first ever qualification for Europe via the league. Bruce acknowledges he will never win over some supporters, who struggle to accept his Geordie roots, but with owner Ellis Short and chairman Niall Quinn still firmly in his corner - for the time being, at least - he is confident he will turn things around. Asked about the flak flying his way, he said: "I knew coming here, that was part of the territory, and that just shows you how quickly it changes. "Eight games ago, I was the best thing since sliced bread - in some people's eyes - and within eight games, now all of a sudden people want me out. "I can understand where they are coming from - I can't quite believe it, but there you go. "There will be certain people who didn't want me here in the first place, and I can understand that as well, but that's football. "All I can say to them is I will work as best as I possibly can to turn it around. "It is what it is, managing in the north-east. But I still don't regret it, I am still confident I am the right person for the job. "But make no mistake, it's difficult. I could have quite easily stayed at Wigan, where Roberto Martinez, for example, has been in the bottom three all season and not a hint of 'Get him out'. That's the way it is." In his defence, Bruce has been severely hampered in recent weeks by an injury list which seems to grow by the day. He will field a team at former club Birmingham on Saturday which he believes will be one of the youngest in the club's Premier League history, and is bracing himself for further bad news with striker Fraizer Campbell and goalkeeper Craig Gordon both due to learn if they need surgery to repair knee injuries. If that proves to be the case for Campbell, who has missed all but four games of the current campaign with cruciate ligament damage, he will also sit out the bulk of next season. Bruce said: "The specialist is going to go and have a look inside, but we do fear it may require further surgery, and if that is the case, then he will miss the best part of next season as well." Campbell's impending return persuaded Bruce he did not need to dip into the market to buy a striker in the wake of Darren Bent's departure for Aston Villa in January. However, the 23-year-old's latest misfortune, coupled with serious injuries to the likes of Titus Bramble, Michael Turner and David Meyler and the inadequacies their absences have exposed, has prompted the realisation that significant further reinforcement will be required during the summer. Bruce said: "Six months ago, I was talking about maybe adding one or two players to the squad. "Now all of a sudden when I analyse what we have got, there's a major rebuilding job to be done again. "For example, if Fraizer does need further surgery, I have got one striker at the club here now. "At the start of the season six or seven months ago, I had four. Sunderland have never had a strike-force like Bent, Gyan, Welbeck and Fraizer Campbell. "I don't think there has been anything better than that - maybe Quinn and [Kevin] Phillips, but they didn't have much back-up."


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