Quinn's plan is in place
THREE years after successfully completing the takeover of Sunderland and Niall Quinn has earmarked the fourth season of his chairmanship as a key stage in the clubs development. The Drumaville consortium has moved aside to allow American owner Ellis Short to take the reins and Quinn genuinely feels the only direction Sunderland are heading in is up. With Steve Bruce lured to Wearside, the next phase of Quinns masterplan is firmly within his sights. Now a top ten finish is the target of the Sunderland hierarchy. At this point, however, they should proceed with caution. Yes, there has been money available and there is cash to spend. Neither, though, guarantees success just look at Roy Keanes tenure. Bruces performance at Wigan, where he operated on a tighter budget, has contributed to a rise in expectation levels, with supporters hoping for a top half finish. For that to happen, however, the problems Keane and Ricky Sbragia encountered need to be addressed and the type of on-field leadership that brings a winning mentality needs to be evident. It is for that reason that Bruce has been courting Lee Cattermole; a combative midfielder with a desire that has been lacking. The £5m capture of Albanian Lorik Cana from Marseille could offer a degree of that, but a lack of experience in the English game may mean he takes time to develop. And while Bruce will be working hard on investing more of Shorts wealth, there is a sense that he hasnt really made the sort of transfer noises he had hoped. Paulo Da Silva may show why he has earned many caps for Paraguay as a commanding centre-back, but Bruce wants Richard Dunne. With the temperamental Djibril Cisse not retained, Bruce has attempted to replace his goals with Fraizer Campbell and Darren Bent. Fans should resist predictions of a top ten place for now, and accept it will take time before Bruce can really call his team his own.
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