Bruce eyes Bolton boost
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is targeting an extension of his 100% record against Bolton to belatedly kick-start the club's season.
Sunderland could conceivably find themselves in the Barclays Premier League relegation zone this weekend if they do not improve upon a miserable run of just one victory in their eight league games to date, and Bruce hopes to call upon previous good form against the Trotters which has brought four straight victories during his time on Wearside.
He said: "I would be lying if I said I didn't [look at the table], but Arsenal were one point above us last week and beat us and went to 10th."
He added: "The Premier League this year has got a familiar look to it, where the big boys are beating everybody, and that's usually been the case in the Premier League. There are 10, 12 teams, separated by three or four points, which is good.
"When you are on a disappointing run like we are at the moment, we know that we are a win away from being in mid-table, so let's hope. We have got a good record at Bolton - let's hope we can go and play there.
"I think the longer it goes on, the better we will become here. I hope that's the case. Certainly, though, we need to go and win a few games. We have had a disappointing start, we are aware of that. We must try now to win a few games. When you look at our group of fixtures from now until Christmas, you would think, 'Here's the opportunity'."
Bruce has found himself under pressure, from outside rather than inside the club, ever since the derby defeat by Newcastle in the second game of the campaign, and the fact that the Black Cats' derby rivals are currently unbeaten and flying high in fourth place has not helped his cause.
However, he remains unbowed as he attempts to turn the club's season around.
He said: "I haven't waned from the idea of what I want to try to achieve here, that remains the same with me.
"You have got to be prepared to take a bit of stick. If you are in this game and you are managing at this level, it's going to be levelled at you and you have got to see it through, see it for what it is, remain positive and make sure your team remains positive too. That is still unchanged."