Sunderland manager Steve Bruce confident of halting slide
Bruce's side have now gone ten games without a win and he underlined the importance of securing their first victory since November ahead of the visit to the Stadium of Light of his old club Wigan on Saturday. 'The games are all important now we are getting to the nitty-gritty part of the season and I am confident we can get a win and we can turn it round,' Bruce said. Steve Bruce at Sunderland for the long-haul, hopes Niall Quinn'However, it must come quickly. There is no hiding from the fact we have had a dismal run, just like we had a wonderful start, the best in 30 years. We have to address and hopefully get the victory that will send everyone on their way. 'This is the same group that beat Arsenal and Liverpool. Obviously, with results not going your way you become a bit nervous and a bit edgy. 'That is the thing about playing here - the mentality has to be strong to handle the situation with our huge support and whatever is going on around you, handle the ball better and don't become nervous and edgy. 'That is what big players; the great players do with no problem. We have to adapt to that and make sure we get a win. It is amazing what that can do.' Sunderland are now hovering just above the relegation zone and Bruce lamented his inability to field a settled defence as it emerged Ghana international John Mensah had been ruled out of action with a calf strain. That means Scotland international Alan Hutton is poised to make his debut for Sunderland following his loan deal with Tottenham. 'It has unbelievable the amount of injuries we have had, particularly to defenders,' Bruce added as he prepared to play his 15th different back-four this season. 'We have picked up an injury to Mensah. If I bring Hutton in it will be the 15th back four in 24 games. That is how we have been with injuries and suspensions, particularly to defenders. 'We are not going to pull the wool over anyone's eyes after the Stoke performance (a 0-0 draw). We didn't create enough and at home that has been the great strength. The positive was the clean sheet but usually when we keep a clean sheet we win. We have to look after the ball better. 'It puts a little bit of pressure on us. We have a big game coming up which we are capable of winning. We are not alone in this situation Wigan are having a tough time as well. 'Our new signings will give us a lift, and the fans can play their part, too. They can all see our effort and endeavour, but they were frustrated we didn't take the ball well and pass it well. We must improve on that and we will do that." Bruce is also banking on Kenwyne Jones to raise his game following speculation linking him with Liverpool. 'The last thing I wanted to do was shift Kenwyne Jones on,' Bruce said. 'We have brought in eight permanent and three on loan. The last thing I wanted to do was sell our best players. 'I want to make sure Kenwyne hits the level of performance that makes him a great player. It has taken some getting through to him, but the loan thing has gone away and he can concentrate on his game again.' Bruce, meanwhile, was diplomatic when it came to discussing his old club despite jibes from DW Stadium chairman Dave Whelan and manager Roberto Martinez recently. 'I have huge respect for Wigan and what they have achieved whatever has been said in the past but of course we want to turn them over,' Bruce continued. 'Wigan have good attacking players (Hugo) Rodallega, (Charles) N'Zogbia, (Victor) Moses. They will be a new challenge. 'They will be hugely disappointed at losing to Notts County in the FA Cup. They have proved they have resilience and they can bounce back. They have had some shocking defeats, but won more than anyone else away from home in the bottom ten.'
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