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McCartney is granted a move to Leeds
Published : 23 Sep 2010 11:34:40
SUNDERLAND boss Steve Bruce has given George McCartney the go-ahead to move to Leeds United on loan despite Sunderland's left-back crisis. Bruce hopes to discover the extent of the hamstring injury sustained by Kieran Richardson this morning, amid fears that he could be out for a number of weeks. With Anton Ferdinand, a suitable short-term alternative, also struggling with a similar problem after being forced to withdraw against West Ham United on Tuesday, Bruce could have denied Leeds the chance to sign McCartney. However, having not handed the Northern Irishman a squad number this season, Bruce confirmed the full-back will still be allowed to join the Championship club for four weeks. McCartney has fallen out of favour under Bruce, who has been trying to move the player on since the first transfer window opened at the start of the year. A knee ligament injury suffered during pre-season prevented him from heading out earlier, despite tentative interest from Birmingham City. The hope is that he will impress sufficiently for a more long-term deal to be brokered, which would strengthen Bruce's cause of bringing in a new left-back in January. It is an indication of just how poorly McCartney is regarded by the Sunderland manager that he is allowing him to leave at such a difficult time. Richardson has been impressive in that role this season, but Bruce outlined after Tuesday's defeat to West Ham in the Carling Cup that the player had been struggling with a hamstring problem for the final 20 minutes of the tie. But with all three substitutes used, Bruce had little choice but to keep him on the pitch as Sunderland tried to claw level. Now Bruce is having to consider his options ahead of Saturday's trip to Liverpool, with whoever plays left-back asked to play out of position. Nedum Onuoha and Phil Bardsley, a centre-back and right-back by trade, are the leading candidates. Ordinarily Matt Kilgallon could also have played in that position, but he has still not recovered from the back injury that forced him to cut short his season-long loan at Middlesbrough. Sunderland are already without Michael Turner (ankle) and John Mensah (calf) through injury, although Titus Bramble is expected to be fit after missing out against West Ham with a slight knock. Bruce was disappointed with the manner in which Sunderland dropped out of the Carling Cup on Tuesday, having outlined 24 hours earlier an intention to win it. And goalkeeper Simon Mignolet said: It is annoying because we felt we could go far in the competition, and of course I would have liked a good cup run in my first season here. West Ham played better and deserved to win. They had more chances. I know they are bottom of the league, but they did not have that pressure on them in this game. They had nothing to lose and they did well and defended well. We found it difficult to keep the ball and cause them problems.