Bruce issues warning
STEVE BRUCE made some of his players unhappy this week but he's in no mood to apologise to them after admitting his team's away form is doing my head in. Sunderland have won just one of their last 17 away matches in the Premier League and Bruce takes little pleasure in noting that lone victory came under his stewardship. The manager called an emergency meeting with his players on Wednesday when he spelled out that unless they curb their tendency to crumble when playing away from the Stadium of Light starting at Fulham tomorrow afternoon then some of them will be leaving Wearside for good. Sunderland's failure to match the impressive showing that almost secured three points at Old Trafford is the main cause of Bruce's anger. Performances have peaked against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United but slumped dramatically in games that Bruce regards as being bread and butter encounters. He has demanded that the real Sunderland turn up at Craven Cottage or some of his squad can start planning for a move in January. We have had three horror shows: Stoke, Wigan and Birmingham,'' he said. We just didn't start or get going. Is there a big match mentality If there is we need to get it sorted out. And I have told them. If we can't sort it out, and I don't get a response and it keeps happening then the only thing I can do is change the personnel. We can't have this mentality where we are OK against the big teams and then let ourselves down against the bread and butter and don't do things properly. It is as simple as that. I have spelled that out in no uncertain terms. It has been a tough week. So I am expecting them to respond to it. I am hoping that the real Sunderland will show up against Fulham. Last year it was the home form and we have done something about that. Obviously we need a few results away from home to get this monkey off our back. If we are going to take the club forward that away form has to pick up. Then our season really would be rocking and rolling. The way technology is you can actually show the players (their mistakes). It is blatantly simple. We have picked a couple of games, shown them and they are all down on their stats from where they should be. They don't like to hear or see that of course. But we are hoping they are going to take that on board and leave these horrible performances behind.'' Bruce admitted that he's becoming increasingly concerned with a lack of bite throughout his team and is looking forward to having Lee Cattermole available for selection before the end of the month. Kenwyne Jones will travel with the squad after serving a three match suspension but the striker is a slight doubt after suffering a dead leg in the reserve team's 3-0 victory over Wigan. Arsenal's search for a new striker following Robin van Persie's ankle ligament injury has seen Arsene Wenger linked with a move for £15mrated Jones. Bruce remains grateful for borrowing Nicklas Bendtner, Fabrice Muamba and Sebastian Larsson from Arsenal when he was in charge at Birmingham City but insists he is in no mood to shake hands on a deal for Jones with the Gunners boss. The one thing I don't want to do here is lose my better players that is for sure,'' said Bruce. Kenwyne signed a new deal less than 12 months ago. When he is playing at his best he is as good as anyone out there in what he does. We hope we can get him back fit. He will come back in to the squad giving us a new dimension. He and Benty were absolutely having a great time before Kenwyne got suspended. To score a goal in the Premier League is very difficult. Kenwyne is capable and when he and Bent are together they are a handful. I am certainly not inclined to return any favour Arsene Wenger might have done me. Bruce revealed that John Mensah is expected to be out for at least three weeks after the Ghana international suffered a recurrence of his troublesome calf injury. It is a big concern to us, a huge concern, noted Bruce. We are hoping he can get fit and have a run. No one is more disappointed than him. Unfortunately his record suggests that he does pick up niggling injuries. Anton Ferdinand comes back into contention and Bruce believes the centre-half still has a future with Sunderland. I had a conversation with Anton on Tuesday and of course he is not happy,'' he revealed. He wants to be involved with the team. But that is the biggest part of any manager's job - to keep the other ten who are not playing happy. Anton has got a future here, that is for sure. Just because I have left him out for a couple of games does not mean he is totally bombed or whatever.
Related Sunderland News