Sunderland ordered in for extra practice match as Steve Bruce looks to rebuild confidence

12 March 2011 01:22
Sunderland may have another free weekend, thanks to their embarrassing FA Cup exit, but manager Steve Bruce will put his entire squad through a practice match today.

Captain Lee Cattermole, strikers Danny Welbeck and Fraizer Campbell and Nedum Onuoha and Bolo Zenden will all play in the behind-closed-doors game. Bruce hopes to have all five available for Liverpool's visit to the Stadium of Light next weekend.

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Welbeck played as a substitute at Arsenal last week and with Campbell in a midweek reserves run-out. The biggest boost for Bruce will be the return of Cattermole who had feared his season was over with a back problem.

Bruce said: 'Thankfully, he's flying and happy with his back. He got a knee in the back and was diagnosed with severe bone bruising when it wouldn't get any better.

Steady progress: Craig Gordon continues to rest his knee with his manager hopeful to avoid an operation

'It was so fragile that it could have turned into a stress fracture, which was the last thing we wanted.

'When you look at us when he's in the team, he's got an infectious enthusiasm about him, which rubs off on a few others. You need people who can dig a bit, especially away from home.'

Keeper Craig Gordon continues to rest his knee and Bruce hopes the Scotland No 1 will be able to avoid an operation.

The Sunderland boss added: 'Because it's a tendon, an operation there could see him out for up to six months, if it's severe. So we're hoping a month of a special exercise regime can take away this inflammation or whatever he's got, because it's not great.'

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Source: Daily_Mail