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Bruce still saddened by Blues exit
Published : 23 Oct 2009 14:18:19Rss feed
The Black Cats boss will take his side to St Andrew's sitting seventh in the Premier League table after last weekend's 1-0 win over Liverpool and with £10million striker Darren Bent leading the goalscoring charts alongside Spanish superstar Fernando Torres. Bruce has spent the last few months operating under the kind of conditions he would have considered luxurious during much of his managerial career, enjoying the full backing of a benevolent billionaire owner in Ellis Short and a forward-thinking and ambitious chairman in Niall Quinn. Bruce said: "One of the reasons I came here was for last Saturday, when there was a huge capacity crowd, Liverpool at home and having a team that could compete with them. "That's one of the reasons, and of course, all the other stuff. "From top to bottom here, I have never had to do a thing, really. I have never had to change anything and that's huge testament to Roy Keane and his professionalism, and to Niall too. "It has been first class." The surroundings in which Bruce currently finds himself could hardly be more different to the ones he encountered when he left Manchester United to join Birmingham as a player during the summer of 1996, before returning five and a half years later as manager. He nevertheless thoroughly enjoyed his eight years at St Andrew's, and therefore his acrimonious departure for Wigan in November 2007 still rankles. Bruce left City amid uncertainty over his future and found himself embroiled in a war of words with the regime which has recently been dismantled in the wake of Carson Yeung's takeover. The Black Cats boss said: "That's the sad thing for me, the way it ended. I had two years as a player, six as a manager. "When I first went there under Trevor Francis, I remember getting changed in a tent, chasing off ducks to try to train - we didn't even have our own kit. "I had eight years there and I really enjoyed it, but it disappointed me the way it finished, it really did. "Broken promises and all the rest of it - I think after eight years, I deserved a little bit better than that. "I don't think after eight years we should be washing our dirty linen in public. But it's gone. "There will be stewards and people there on the doors tomorrow who support Birmingham and in that respect, I am pleased the takeover has finally gone through and they can all concentrate on putting a team together for Alex McLeish to compete in the Premier League." Bruce will return to the Midlands without key midfielder Lee Cattermole, who is facing up to three months on the sidelines with knee ligament damage. While the manager has every confidence in teenage understudy Jordan Henderson, he is keeping his fingers crossed that Cattermole is not too badly missed. He said: "I hope we can get over the hurdle of missing him. The sad thing is I have just seen him with a big leg brace on and crutches, and I wish he was fit and ready to play tomorrow. "But we have to deal with it, it's as simple as that." The victory over Liverpool, coupled with the draw at Manchester United which preceded it, has Wearside buzzing, but Bruce is refusing to be caught up in the mounting excitement. He said: "I have been here before and it doesn't mean anything. "It means nothing if we can't go and get a result at Birmingham tomorrow and get something against West Ham."
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