Malbranque, who was named as a substitute against Wigan on Saturday, replaces the injured Jordan Henderson in the Black Cats' team to face Portsmouth.
Otherwise Bruce has gone for the same team against a Pompey team threatened with a winding up order in the High Court tomorrow.
PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2): James; Finnan, Ben-Haim, Rocha, Wilson; Yebda, Basinas, Diop, O'Hara; Piquionne, Dindane. Subs: Ashdown (gk), Mullins, Owusu-Abeiye, Webber, Hughes, Kanu, Belhadj.
SUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Gordon; Hutton, Turner, Kilgallon, McCartney; Malbranque, Cattermole, Cana, Reid; Jones, Bent. Subs: Carson, Bardsley, Zenden, Da Silva, Meyler, Benjani, Liddle.