Belfast Telegraph

Bruce plans to avoid January sales

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is happy to work with the squad he has amid fears that dwindling attendances could adversely affect his spending power.

A crowd of just 35,101 watched Saturday's 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Bolton at the Stadium of Light, a far cry from the days when the norm was closer to its 48,000 capacity.

Bruce admits the empty seats and the implications of that are a concern but he said: "We can't just keep going to the owner and asking him to keep providing and providing and providing. I am quite happy - and I genuinely mean this - to work with the squad we have got."

Chairman Niall Quinn is well aware of the impact the prevailing financial situation has had on the city, but he fears many of the empty seats are a result of local pubs illegally showing home games on foreign television channels and has warned the days of big-money signings will be consigned to history if that continues.

But Bruce has no complaints about the backing he has had from owner Ellis Short and Quinn since his arrival 18 months ago, and he added: "There's a huge frustration because the crowds have come away, but I do believe it's an economic thing. I do think at this particular time that people are struggling and we have got to understand that.

"It's no disrespect to the team, but the numbers people - and obviously Niall is one of them - know the more people who come through the door, the more money we generate and the more we have got to spend on players.

"I understand where Niall is coming from. But let's be fair, the football club over the last two and a half, three years, whatever it is, has spent a hell of a lot of money and it's not a bottomless pit.

"Of course, I am always on the look-out for something that can make us better, but there has to come a point - and we have maybe got to that point - where we just work with the squad we have got.

"We have got an excellent squad of players who have only been here a short period of time, and we will get on with what we have got."


From Belfast Telegraph