A new dawn on Wearside

29 August 2009 08:58
■ Three days to go before transfer window closes ■ Bruce lines up 12 deals ■ Stalwarts Collins and Nosworthy to exit STEVE BRUCE is set to trade up to a dozen players over the next three days as he completes the most dramatic squad overhaul in the club’s history. The Sunderland manager regards the transfer window as “ludicrous” and has called for it to be scrapped, but he is proving to be one of its biggest movers and shakers as he shapes a squad capable of securing the Wearsiders a top-ten finish. Sunderland travel to Stoke City this afternoon seeking their first victory in the Potteries for five years. But by the time Bruce’s side face Hull City in a fortnight, the squad could have changed dramatically. The manager is showing no sentiment as stalwarts like Danny Collins and Nyron Nosworthy will leave the Stadium of Light after five years service if an acceptable bid is received. And before the transfer window closes on Tuesday, Michael Turner is expected to join the Black Cats from Hull City in a £6.5m deal that will finally see Paul Mc- Shane complete his move to Phil Brown’s side. Despite Wigan’s determination to retain left-back Maynor Figueroa, Bruce will offer his former club £5m to be reunited with the highly-rated Honduran. Egypt international wingers El Sayed Hamdi and Ahmed Al-Muhammadi are also expected to complete short-term moves to Wearside, while Ghana centre- half John Mensah has finally been given clearance to join Sunderland on a season-long loan. “I am delighted today because I have been given a oneyear visa,” said Mensah, who joins the Black Cats from Lyon on an initial loan deal with a view to making a permanent £7m switch. The 26-year-old is scheduled to return to Africa for international duty when Ghana face Sudan in a World Cup qualifier a week tomorrow. If defender Collins can agree personal terms with today’s opponents, he will join the sizeable contingent of former Black Cats in Tony Pulis’ side. Collins has been named the supporters’ player of the year for the last two seasons but the Wales international’s spell on Wearside appears to be at an end. The writing appeared on the wall for Collins last weekend when Bruce, speaking after the defender’s appearance in the win over Blackburn, revealed what words were exchanged between the pair during the game. “I said to Danny (Collins): You’ve done it your way for the last couple of years and it hasn’t been very good, has it?” admitted Bruce. But the manager has rejected an initial bid from Portsmouth for Nyron Nosworthy, although Paul Hart is expected to return with an improved offer for the 28-yearold. “Nyron has got a part to play here but, football being football and the madness of the transfer window, who knows? “I’m always a big believer that every player has their price,” admitted Bruce. The list of players headed for the Stadium of Light exit also includes Grant Leadbitter and Carlos Edwards, who are haggling over terms with Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane. Darryl Murphy is also a target of the former Sunderland manager, with Middlesbrough and Stoke monitoring the situation, while striker Roy O’- Donovan is a target of Southampton. Both players could be shipped out on loan if permanent deals cannot be struck. Wigan boss Martinez has echoed the comments he made prior to Lee Cattermole’s switch to Wearside by declaring his intention to retain Figueroa. He said: “I don’t think we are in a position as a football club now where we need to sell anyone. “In that respect it is vital we keep players on long-term contracts who are important to the future of the club, and Maynor is one of them.” Bruce’s efforts to push through a host of last-minute deals didn’t stop him from attacking the concept of a transfer window and calling for FIFA to rethink the scheme. “The transfer window can be destabilising. I had that at Wigan. I lost Heskey and Palacios with no chance of replacing them in January,’’ he recalled. “The reason why we carry 22 players is because we have to cover ourselves. “In my day you could have a squad of 15 and if something happened to your centre half you could go out and buy another one. “It is a restriction of trade, a ludicrous situation and puts a strain on everything. “Just scrap it. Leave it open all season. That makes more sense.” Fraizer Campbell has been declared fit for the trip to Stoke after picking up a knock at Carrow Road, while Craig Gordon will continue in goal after Marton Fulop failed to recover from a foot injury. “We have sold a few (players) to Stoke and they will want to put one over on us,’’ he added. “They were fantastic at home last year, physical and difficult to play against. We are going to have to handle Stoke, if not we will get beaten. “I hope my defence defend set pieces better. “There are no tactics to it. You have to be brave enough to stick your head there where you get hurt.’’

Source: Northern_Echo