Gyan, a £13m deadline day signing from Rennes, has been included on the bench, with Bruce expected to play five in midfield away from home.
Danny Welbeck, on loan from Manchester United, has been handed his first league start for the club, while John Mensah joins Gyan among the substitutes.
Wigan, meanwhile, include former Sunderland and Newcastle defender Steven Caldwell on the bench.
WIGAN ATHLETIC (4-1-4-1): Al Habsi; Boyce, Alcaraz, Gohouri, Figueroa; Thomas; Stam, Diame, McCarthy, Rodallega; Boselli. Subs: Kirkland (gk), Di Santo, Watson, N'Zogbia, S Caldwell, Gomez, Cleverley.
SUNDERLAND (4-5-1): Mignolet; Onuoha, Bramble, Ferdinand, Richardson; Elmohamady, Cattermole, Malbranque, Henderson, Welbeck; Bent. Subs: CCArson (gk), Bardsley, Zenden, Colback, Mensah, Gyan, Riveros.