Bruce faces battle to sign Sessegnon
STEVE Bruce has made a bid for Paris St Germain midfielder Stephane Sessegnon but he could face a battle to land the 26-year-old with the French club reluctant to let their want-away star leave. It emerged last week that Bruce had tabled a loan bid for the Benin international, as well as Inter Milan's Sulley Muntari in a bid to bolster his squad for the second half of the season. And although both bids appeared to be knocked back, it seems Bruce has stepped up his interest for Sessegnon by tabling an offer for a permanent deal for the midfield play maker. However the Black Cats face a battle to land their target, as the French club are not interested in letting the 26- year-old leave, despite the player demanding a move after a spat with coach Antoine Koumboure last week. Sessegnon appears to be in a similar situation to the one Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa was in before Marseille allowed him to leave, with the Benin international refusing to train or play for PSG until he gets his move - something which has been met by substantial fines. The midfielder met with PSG president Robin Leproux on Wednesday to try and agree a way forward but the French club are still refusing to let him go - although a permanent offer could force the French club's hand. With several key players ruled out through injury, Bruce is keen to add to his squad to maintain their push for a top-ten finish, but it remains unlikely any business will be done before Sunday's Tyne and Wear derby. The 5-1 thrashing at St James' Park earlier in the season is still very much on Bruce's mind and the Black Cats boss is keen to put it right with a win at the Stadium of Light. The game last Halloween was Bruce's first taste of a Tyne and Wear derby and although he has been involved in rival games before, he admits they are nothing compared to when Newcastle and Sunderland meet. The Black Cats have been in good form since the defeat to Newcastle and while he admits he would love to get his own back on the Magpies he insists the three points will be more important. No disrespect to Manchester City, but the time I was at Manchester United we didn't think of that as a challenge, the former Manchester United defender said. Does that make sense Liverpool Manchester United, yes. Of course there is always something big in that one. They are 50 miles apart. So it is not classed as a derby. It is more of a rivalry. "When you are close to it and the attention it gets, and because it is here in the North- East and there is nothing else here it does become magnified. It is great don't get me wrong, it is fantastic. Being from the area didn't help me last time did it. I knew all along what it meant to people and what it still means to both sets of fans but it is a game. It is only three points at stake, yes there is local bragging rights and all the rest of it goes out of the window. But both teams have to be judged on what you do at the end of the season. I have to live with the first derby performance, the 5-1 probably forever. Probably because it won't happen again. The most important thing is where the club is going, where we finish in May, what we are going to do. We should be judged then at the end. The whole season is not just based on one game. "We have to get away from that, and get bigger and better and improve. There seem to be some supporters who would rather take sixth from bottom and beat Newcastle, I don't go along with that. Don't get me wrong, I desperately want to beat Newcastle, but it is all about where we are and where we are going. I know that if we can win we will go to 36 points going into the Blackpool game. If we can get a result there, there is a two week break, nearly everyone will be fit and it gives us a chance to get where we want to go. I remember Manchester United losing twice to City a couple of years ago and still won the league so no-one gives a jot in the end. SUNDERLAND Under-18s were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup today after they were beaten 2-0 by holders Chelsea at the Academy of Light. The Black Cats provided a tough test for Chelsea but goals from Nathaniel Chalobah and George Saville were enough to see off Kevin Ball's youngsters.
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