Bruce wants to see Wearsiders shine
The Texan businessman has ploughed millions of pounds into the club, initially to help fund the final phase of then manager Roy Keane's spending spree and more recently to allow Bruce to conduct a major overhaul of the squad he inherited. Short's spending has been offset in part by sales, particularly this summer when the departures of Lorik Cana and Kenwyne Jones brought a total of around £13million back into the coffers. However, he allowed Bruce to pay marginally more than that to French side Rennes on the final day of the summer transfer window in a club record swoop for Ghana international striker Asamoah Gyan, who could make his debut at Wigan, and the manager is determined to reward him for his faith. Bruce said: "Fair play to the owner. There has been a huge investment in the club, not just in my 12 months, but over the last three years. "We have got possibly the youngest squad in the Premier League - I have made a conscious effort to do that - and we now need time for them to all settle down and get used to what we want and change the mentality of the club for what we want to do over the next few years. "The owner has played his part. He has transformed it and it is about time we paid him back." Bruce's mission has always been a long-term one, but he knows time is a rare commodity in modern football management and is keen to build upon last season's 13th-place finish, which might have been significantly better. Their form at the Stadium of Light, where they beat Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham and have already claimed the scalp of moneybags Manchester City this time around, was the foundation for a satisfactory campaign. However, that was in sharp contrast to their return on the road, taking just 10 points from a possible 57, and that is an issue Bruce will seek to address at former club Wigan, where they have a poor recent record. He said: "Our record there is awful, but then again, I would never under-estimate Wigan. "It's a difficult place for everyone to go to, and I just hope we can go and perform. "If we are going to improve, that's what we have got to do, it's that away form. At home we have produced, over the last 12 months, some great performances, but away from home we have let ourselves down." Bruce, of course, enjoyed two spells in charge at Wigan, the second of them immediately before heading back to his native north-east, and he is not the only member of the travelling party with inside knowledge. New captain Lee Cattermole enhanced his reputation under the then Latics manager before joining him on Wearside, and central defender Titus Bramble rebuilt his career there with the help of the former Manchester United defender, who snapped him up this summer. Bramble has been impressive during his first few weeks at Sunderland to silence the critics who remember his error-strewn spell at Newcastle only too well. Bruce said: "You can now see probably a different player, who has matured. He is 29 and he has certainly matured, as you have seen with his performances so far over the last three or four games. "The thing with Titus is you cannot keep telling him how well he has done, you have got to keep hitting him with a big stick and get after him to get him to concentrate. "But he has done terrifically well for me. For the money, £750,000 or whatever it was, it was a terrific piece of business. "Where else would you get somebody who has played 10 years in the Premier League? Sometimes you can move a bit too early, especially if you are a centre-half. "You have got to learn your trade a bit. Most of us centre-halves get better with age - unfortunately, then you can't run anymore - but it helps, a bit of experience and a bit of know-how."