Cattermole relishing Titus reunion
LEE CATTERMOLE is delighted to have been reunited with Titus Bramble this week, and the Sunderland midfielder is confident his former Wigan team-mate will help propel the Black Cats into the upper reaches of the Premier League. Bramble signed a threeyear deal with Sunderland yesterday to complete a cutprice switch from Wigan for an initial fee of around £1m. The 28-year-old linked up with his new team-mates in Portugal on Wednesday, and immediately renewed acquaintances with Cattermole, who spent a season playing alongside him at the DW Stadium. Given his chequered history with Newcastle United, a number of Sunderland fans have questioned the wisdom of signing Bramble, and a handful of unsavoury chants could be heard during Wednesday night's friendly with Brighton. But having witnessed Bramble's qualities at first hand, Cattermole is confident the Black Cats have acquired a player capable of transforming their back four. Titus is glad to be here, and it's nice to have him, said the Stockton-born midfielder. He was by far our best player when we were together at Wigan. We had performers like (Antonio) Valencia and (Wilson) Palacios, but Titus was chosen as our Player of the Year. He was quality for us. He will definitely improve the team and bring us a lot of experience. He'll be great round the dressing room, he's a great pro and he works hard. He's more of an old-school defender who likes to get his head in there, and I think that's what we need. Titus is 28 now and has played in the Premier League all his career. You're not a bad player if you can do that. This move is a challenge for him and I know he's looking forward to it. Bramble will not be involved when Sunderland play the second game of their Portuguese tour against Hull this evening, as he is still recovering from a broken foot sustained at the end of last season. He is unlikely to feature against Benfica on Tuesday, but could make his first appearance in a Black Cats shirt when Bruce's side travel to Leicester next weekend. The Ipswich-born defender was first linked with a move to Wearside last summer, and while that came to nothing, he is pleased to have finally linked back up with Bruce, the manager he credits with transforming his career at Wigan. Steve was a massive part of the move, said Bramble, who made more than 150 appearances for Newcastle before moving to Wigan in 2007. Having played for him at Wigan, I know what a good manager he is. I played the best football of my career under Steve. His man-management skills are amazing and I know how he likes to play the game, so it wasn't a hard choice to make. I know quite a few of the backroom staff already, plus Catts and (Darren) Bent, so I'm sure they will make it easier to settle in. Bruce is well aware that Bramble's capture represents a significant gamble, given his long-term association with Newcastle. Many supporters are likening the move to Peter Reid's decision to sign Lee Clark in 1997, a transfer swoop that, while initially controversial, was widely hailed as a success when the former Newcastle midfielder helped Sunderland win promotion back to the Premier League. Bruce is confident Bramble will have a similarly positive impact, and feels Sunderland have pulled off a coup by prising him from Wigan at a knockdown rate. I'm delighted we've been able to get him for the price we've paid, said Bruce. It's a terrific piece of business. From the outset, Titus wanted to come back to the North-East. I had the privilege of working with him at Wigan and he's a great age. He's matured a lot. He had a lot of pressure put on him very early when he went from Ipswich for big money as a kid. I had no hesitation in bringing Titus here, he will be a marvellous acquisition. While Bramble will not be involved against Hull today, another two of Sunderland's summer signings could be involved. Egyptian Ahmed Al- Muhammadi, who appeared against Darlington, flew into Portugal on Thursday night after receiving a visa, while Marcos Angeleri jetted out last night after the confusion over his passport situation was finally resolved. Angeleri has finally been granted an Italian passport, removing the need for a UK work permit and enabling his international registration to be completed. His £1.5m switch from Estudiantes will be confirmed in the next 24 hours, and he could yet be involved when Sunderland play their second game in Albufeira tonight. It's good news, and it's great for him because he needs to work with us as soon as possible, said Bruce. It has been a bit of a culture shock for him coming over and seeing what English football is all about, but he is a top-quality player and he will adjust. The reports we've had on him from Argentina were all outstanding, and he is a player who will bring something extra to our squad.
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