Bardsley can see the Bruce effect rubbing off

07 August 2009 11:00
HE may include Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane among his list of former managers, but Phil Bardsley feels that Steve Bruce has a different presence about him which bodes well for a successful era at Sunderland.

Having been a young schoolboy at Manchester United at the time when Bruce was helping Fergusons men to unprecedented glory during the 90s, Bardsley already knew his new boss.

The Sunderland right-back knew all about what his new manager had won during his career and what he was like as a man. He did not, though, realise just how thorough he was going to be on the training ground when he stepped into management.

But while Bruces reign has only recently entered its second month with the squad of players he has inherited, he has gained instant respect from those under his wing, a fact Bardsley believes indicates his manager will deliver on Wearside.

Next weeks opening Premier League match at Bolton will represent Bruces first competitive game in charge and, while steering away from making predictions, there is a feeling that the respect for the new man at the helm augurs well for the campaign.

I was at United, so I knew him before he arrived, said Bardsley.

I was only a young lad, 12 or something when he was playing. But I also knew him through other things.

He is a great character and he has a camaraderie with the lads and I think you need that.

He has an unbelievable presence because we all know what he has done in the game. Thats great for the players and we are enjoying it under him.

Roy had his presence for his own reasons and its difficult to compare the two, but Roy was new to the managerial game.

This manager has had plenty experience in management, he has been in there a good few years. He has brought little things in terms of organising and that will help us.

Having spent numerous years under Ferguson at Old Trafford, Bardsley claims that Bruce has taken certain things from the United boss in the way he approaches training.

But rather than draw parallels between the managers he has worked under, the Salford-born defender wants to focus on what he thinks can be achieved this season and beyond.

Having floated around different clubs before moving to Sunderland at the start of 2008, Bardsley is satisfied that settling in one place will help him and his career after loan spells with Royal Antwerp, Burnley, Rangers, Aston Villa and Sheffield United.

He takes nothing for granted, though, after a summer in which Bruce has been linked with numerous players, including new fullbacks.

Its exciting times for the club, with the new owner (Ellis Short) and the names of the players being linked with the club, but the players already here have staked their claim for the challenge ahead, said the 24-year-old.

Targets are down to individuals. Its a personal thing. But we all want to finish up as high in the Premier League as we can.

Trying to avoid a repeat of a relegation struggle is something we want.

The manager has come in and laid the foundations already for what he wants to do here. We will work off that and hopefully we will get some joy.

Fans understand and I dont think they will expect too much too quickly.

He is a great football man with good tactics. That can only help the team.

But having gone through a thorough fitness programme during the summer, including heavy sessions in the Portugal sun before performing well at the Amsterdam Tournament, there is a confidence in the Sunderland squad.

The new manager has come in and we got a lot of positives out of the trip away, that really helped us get to know what the manager was about, said Bardsley.

Its been an intense summer, more intense than we have had before.

Thats a good thing because you need the fitness levels to be as high as you possibly can. We have been getting some good responses to it.

With a little over a week to go before the first real results of Bruces tenure at Sunderland are recorded, he is likely to be looking to make further additions.

But Bruces personality has already rubbed off on the players he has had around him and only time will tell whether he can take Sunderland on to the next phase of the clubs development: a top ten finish.


IN: Fraizer Campbell (Manchester United £3.5m), Lorik Cana (Marseille £5m), Paulo Da Silva (Toluca, free), Darren Bent (Spurs £10m) OUT: Dwight Yorke (released), Darren Ward (retired), Peter Hartley (Hartlepool, free), Nick Colgan (Grimsby, free), Greg Halford (Wolves, £2m), Michael Chopra (Cardiff, £4m), Dean Whitehead (Stoke City, £3m), Jack Colback (Ipswich, loan), Martyn Waghorn (Leicester, loan)

Source: Northern_Echo