Belfast Telegraph

Steve Bruce urges Sunderland to see year out in style

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has urged his players to bounce back from their mauling at Manchester United to set up an exciting conclusion to the season.

A depleted Black Cats side went down 2-0 at Old Trafford as United maintained their place at the top of the Premier League table, although the margin of victory did not start to tell the story of the home side's dominance.

However, seventh-placed Sunderland have an early opportunity to make amends from what was only their fourth league defeat of the season when Blackpool visit the Stadium of Light today.

Only West Ham have won on Wearside to date this season, and that in the Carling Cup, and Bruce is confident his side will be a different proposition.

He said: “Now the defining part of the season is upon us. We have got back-to-back home games against Blackpool and Blackburn — can we go and win them both?

“If we can, then we have got an exciting spring to look forward to.

“It won't be easy, and they will be as fresh as daisies as well. They haven't played at all now for two weeks, so all the little injuries and knocks and all the rest of it that they have had will be okay.

“We will have to treat them with the respect we gave Manchester United.

“Our home form has been terrific and we are a different beast. We hope we go and produce the kind of performance were we are capable of getting a result at home, and we will be trying our utmost.”

The Black Cats were without the suspended Lee Cattermole, the ineligible Danny Welbeck and with Kieran Richardson missing through illness and Titus Bramble, Michael Turner, John Mensah, Fraizer Campbell and David Meyler as a result of injury.

However, Cattermole is now available while Welbeck will also resume and Richardson is expected to have recovered.

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