STEVE Bruce has admitted that Lorik Cana will have to curb his tenacious tackling if he is not to spend large chunks of the season on the sidelines.
Cana’s committed approach has made him an instant favourite amongst Sunderland fans, but his enthusiasm has come at a cost as Saturday’s booking against Hull City made it three yellow cards in five first-team appearances this season.
Bruce does not want to detract from Cana’s competitive qualities, but the Black Cats boss will urge his skipper to rein in some of his more impetuous instincts in order to prevent a raft of suspensions from blighting his campaign.
“That’s his third yellow card – it is just getting him through the season that will be an issue,” said Bruce.
“To say he is trying to do his best is an understatement.
You can see why I have made him captain.
“He has obviously got to try to curb it, but he is just full of enthusiasm, trying to do the job. Everybody is telling him how tough England is – well, the Albanian captain is there to stand up.
“He has got a good way about him. We will obviously have to check the yellow cards if we can, but he will be a cult hero here, I am sure of it.”
Cana’s arrival was part of a wholesale summer re-organisation at the Stadium of Light, and the changes are set to continue this week as striker David Healy prepares to make a loan move to Championship side Watford.
Healy has not made a single league appearance under Bruce, and the Northern Ireland international is poised to join the Hornets on a temporary basis now that the Football League window for emergency loan signings has opened.
Meanwhile, youngster David Meyler’s return from an ankle injury has been delayed following an injury to his other ankle.
Meyler twisted his ankle in training at the Academy of Light and has been ruled out of this evening’s reserves game with Burnley.