Bruce pushes Richardson's claims
The 25-year-old former Manchester United midfielder is back in the fold at the Stadium of Light after recovering from a niggling calf injury, and will hope to retain his place for Sunday's Premier League clash with Fulham. Having played much of his football as an emergency left-back in recent times, Richardson has made no secret of his desire to line-up in his preferred central midfield role. However, Wayne Bridge's decision to declare himself unavailable to England boss Fabio Capello and Ashley Cole's ongoing battle for fitness mean there could be a golden opportunity up for grabs. Bruce said: "The problem with Kieran is he doesn't particularly like it, he doesn't enjoy it. "If I was picking a position for him, I would argue that that is probably his best position, but persuading Kieran of that I don't think is going to be easy. "He wants to be up at the other end of the pitch and he wants to try to create. "But he is an excellent defender, he is very quick, he is naturally left-footed. "I have played him there and he has arguably had his best games for me there. "There could be a late call - there are not many, are there? There are not many natural left-hand-side players full-stop in the country, so who knows? "It's his own mentality, Kieran, that he is not quite happy playing there." Asked if the chance to go to the World Cup could prove the ideal incentive, Bruce added: "Possibly it could. "If you said to him, 'You have got a chance of going to the World Cup as a left-back', then he might take it. "But I haven't asked that question. I will use him the way I think he wants to be used." In the short-term, however, all Bruce and Richardson will be concentrating on is ending a run of 13 Premier League games without a win against in-form Fulham, who progressed to the last 16 in the Europa League in midweek by knocking out holders Shakhtar Donetsk. Bruce said: "He [Fulham manager Roy Hodgson] kept them up by the skin of their teeth and then they qualified for Europe the next year, and now they are in the last 16 of the Europa League. "They have had a wonderful 18 months when let's be fair, a couple of years ago, you thought they were dead and buried."