With that in mind Bruce has insisted that Sunderland's second round tie at former club Norwich City tonight will not be treated lightly by the Stadium of Light club with the Carling Cup representing a more realistic prospect of silverware than the Premier League.
"It is practically impossible for us to win the Premier League but the one thing we can do is win a cup competition," said Bruce who helped Norwich win the competition in 1985 with a Wembley win over Sunderland.
"There are five or six games and you never know with the luck of the draw and all the rest of it so I will be taking it as seriously as I can but we will have the wait and see what state the players are in by the time the game comes around."
He continued: "Your priority has to be to stay in the Premier League - that's a given but let's be totally realistic, we're not going to win the league if we are going to win something, it will be a cup.
"The big teams might be drawn against each other and that can make life easier for you and the big boys often rest their first-team players until the semi-finals, so that means it is a possibility for the rest of us."
The season has begun brightly at the Wearside club with two wins of their first three outings this term which bodes well for the future under Bruce who took over the helm at Sunderland during the summer following a move from Wigan.
However, Bruce's mood has been darkened by the fixture congestion that he has branded as "ridiculous".
The former Manchester United skipper added: "By the time we come off the pitch a Carrow Road on Monday night we will have played four games in ten days with the lads who have had to play internationals on the eve of the season having had five games in 13 days which is extremely tough at this stage of the season.
"It's very demanding but we have no alternative other than to get on with it and while I will look toe freshen us up against Norwich I want to make sure that we will still be competitive.
"Without getting too far ahead of ourselves we can see that the silver lining to playing on Monday rather than Tuesday is that it will give us an extra 24 hours to prepare for next weekend's trip to Stoke."
Bruce, who will be pitting his wits against former Colchester boss Paul Lambert who was appointed manager following the shock sacking of his former Norwich team-mate Bryan Gunn, has promised to ring the changes.
Bruce has confirmed that Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon will play his first game since undergoing knee surgery and there could also be a starting berth for Fraizer Campbell alongside Darren Bent.
"I'm taking Norwich seriously but I'll have to make changes," Bruce added. "Gordon will play on Monday. I've not seen him competitively yet and he's only trained for a couple of days."
Paraguayan international centre-half Paulo Da Silva could also make his debut for the Sunderland against the League One side. Sunderland skipper Danny Collins will warn his new colleague to beware
Norwich despite their lower league status. "After a demanding start to the season we could have done with an extra day or two before facing Norwich," Collins said.
"It's a long journey and they will have a point to prove to their home fans. The gaffer has made it known that we want a cup run this season and will field a strong side. We will be up for the game and looking to progress."