Wolves boss Mick McCarthy admits the task of overcoming Sunderland in tomorrow's crunch relegation clash at Molineux has been made harder by the expected arrival of Martin O'Neill as manager.
The two sides are locked on 11 points, just two points above the bottom three, and the stakes could hardly be higher when they meet at Molineux.
McCarthy, who also managed Sunderland, said: "I can't put any more onus on this game with Manchester United next up.
"We are level on points with Sunderland, and both of us having a tough time.
"One of the clubs has lost their manager so we can't dress this up as anything else than a really big, important game.
"Maybe that has been made slightly tougher because of Steve going and there is generally a response if normal service is resumed.
"If Martin O'Neill is sat in the stand, they will be running around like scalded cats trying to impress.
"It has not made my job any easier. Maybe it has put a bit more pressure on my team."
McCarthy is friends with Bruce and O'Neill and has sympathy for the former losing his job but also believes the latter will revive the fortunes of the Black Cats.
He said: "I've spoken to Steve. He is like any one of us who ends up losing a job. You are always disappointed.
"You've always got a sense it is coming as well. I think if you do get that sense it is coming, and the crowd are on to you, it is almost a relief sometimes.
"Martin, if he gets it, will be very fortunate to manage the club - as I was - and I'm sure he will do a good job as he always does."