Quinn promises budget to back Bruce
Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has promised to help manager Steve Bruce build an exciting squad for the new Barclays Premier League campaign.
The fixture list announced on Friday morning will see Bruce's side pitched into battle with Liverpool at Anfield on the opening day of the season, a date which could see former Black Cats midfielder Jordan Henderson make his league debut for the Reds against his home-town club. They then welcome arch-rivals Newcastle to the Stadium of Light a week later for their first home game with revenge for last season's disappointments firmly in mind.
Henderson's departure on top of that of Darren Bent in January has left Bruce with a major rebuilding job to do as he attempts to both replace key players and strengthen the squad they have left behind, and Quinn is confident he will do just that. He told the club's official website: "The journey begins again and it promises to be an interesting one."
He added: "We have got a tough start to the season, but you have to play everyone twice during the course of the season, so it all evens itself out.
"We are looking to build an exciting squad to meet the challenges to come, and I'm confident we will be able to do that.
"As a club, we are exploring a number of potential signings and have been speaking to a number of players and agents. There's a real sense of excitement now and I hope the fans will get behind us and back us through the turnstiles.
"We are all moving ahead in the same direction and there's plenty to look forward to."
Much of the groundwork for deals to sign strikers Ji Dong-won and David Ngog has been completed, while free transfer moves for Keiren Westwood and Sebastian Larsson are at an advanced stage.
Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson has indicated his willingness to consider a switch to Wearside, although team-mates Wes Brown and John O'Shea seem less enamoured after the Red Devils accepted a joint bid totalling in excess of £12million.
Sunderland have also registered their interest in Birmingham midfielder Craig Gardner while Bruce is a long-term admirer of Charles N'Zogbia, although Wigan's valuation, which is understood to top £10million, has not wavered.