Bruce in appeal over card

22 December 2009 09:39
SUNDERLAND have appealed against the straight red card that could rule Michael Turner out of the whole of the Christmas period.[LNB] Turner was dismissed in the closing stages of the Black Cats' 4-3 defeat to Manchester City at the weekend after appearing to catch Gareth Barry in the face with an elbow.[LNB] Steve Bruce was quick to brand referee Andre Marriner's decision a joke, and Sunderland officials have now backed their manager by lodging a formal appeal with the Football Association.[LNB] If it is successful, Turner will avoid the mandatory three-match ban that will otherwise rule him out of the league games with Everton and Blackburn and the FA Cup third-round tie with Barrow.[LNB] Bruce, however, is not holding out much hope, having previously criticised Marriner for his decision to send off Kenwyne Jones in Sunderland's 2-2 draw with West Ham in October.[LNB] Because I have complained about him, I get that decision,[LNB] said Bruce. I hope he can have a look at it and he can see it was a shuddering challenge between two of the most honest professionals you are going to get.[LNB] Michael Turner got higher.[LNB] That is the only reason he has caught Gareth Barry.[LNB] You have got to raise your elbows when you are jumping for a ball. I might as well tell my centre-half not to head it next week because he might be sent off. I hope the referee looks at it again. I doubt it though.[LNB] Turner's dismissal capped a miserable afternoon that saw Sunderland fail to end a winless run that now stretches to five matches, despite scoring three goals away from home.[LNB] The defeat leaves the Black Cats just five points above the relegation zone, and has created an air of nervousness ahead of a Christmas spell that sees Bruce's side take on two sides in the bottom eight.[LNB] This time last year, Sunderland were plunging headlong towards a relegation battle, but while their current form is hardly anything to shout about, goalkeeper Marton Fulop insists there is no chance of them being dragged into a survival scrap for the second season in a row.[LNB] There will be no relegation fight, said the Hungary international, who will face competition from a fit-again Craig Gordon at the start of the New Year.[LNB] We don't want to think about that this season, we want to look up.[LNB] It has been a very difficult Premier League season and there are a lot of teams of good quality, but we can definitely improve on last season's finish.[LNB] Last season, Sunderland only survived on the final day of the campaign, and Bruce spent more than £20m this summer in an attempt to improve a squad that was lacking in quality in a number of key areas.[LNB] Some of his signings have been unqualified successes Darren Bent, Lee Cattermole, Lorik Cana while others Paulo Da Silva, John Mensah, Fraizer Campbell remain harder to judge.[LNB] Fulop insists the current squad is much stronger than it was 12 months ago, and the shot-stopper expects to see Sunderland remaining in the top half of the table in the second half of the season.[LNB] I know we are all disappointed, but look at the progress we have made in a year, he said. I think our squad looks a lot better. There were some very, very good signings over the summer.[LNB] When you look at where we are in the table, tenth is a good position to be in considering where we were. I think everyone would accept that at the end of the season. It would be a massive step forward.[LNB]

Source: Northern_Echo