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Sunderland's Reid on target for Ireland return as Bruce reveals fitness battle

26 Sep 2009 00:35:18

Sunderland's Reid on target for Ireland return as Bruce reveals fitness battle

Nowhere has Andy Reid's continued absence from the Ireland squad caused more confusion than at Sunderland. Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has refused to pick the Sunderland midfielder for more than a year since their infamous bust-up in the early hours of the morning following their World Cup qualifying victory in Germany over Georgia. Trapattoni did picked the former Tottenham and Charlton player for the next squad last year, but, after details of the argument emerged, the former Italy coach has ignored Reid, claiming his absence is down to football reasons, and not their row in the team hotel.  Bust up: Andy Reid has not figured for his country since he fell outwith manager Giovanni Trapattoni following their World Cup qualifyingvictory over Georgia However, with Reid in the form of his life after losing more than stone of weight during the close season, Trapattoni's continued stubbornness is undermining his excellent work as Ireland boss, which has taken them to the verge of the World Cup play-offs. And Sunderland manager Steve Bruce admitted: `Andy has been arguably our best player for a month. Trap is a bit more experienced and better than I am so it is his call. `All pre-season he has not missed a day's training. The penny has dropped with him, in his head. You have to be in some physical condition these days to play in the Premier League. If you are not physically capable you won't make it. That is what defines a Premier League to a Championship player. `It is the physical condition. If you are not physically capable you can't do it. Andy deserves credit for that and not me. He thought to himself in the summer `I am going to go away and do something about it and not be ridiculed any more'.'  Star: Steve Bruce says Reid has been Sunderland's stand out performer recently Reid will have the chance to show one former Ireland manager his improved form when Mick McCarthy returns to the Stadium of Light with his Wolves side on Sunday. Much has changed since McCarthy was forced out of Wearside by former chairman Bob Murray just months after he had unexpectedly returned the club to the top flight. Bruce, who enjoys a much more profitable relationship with chairman Niall Quinn and owner Ellis Short, is full of admiration for his opposite number who enjoyed his first home Premier League win last week. The current Sunderland boss said: `I have been there with Mick Mc for ten years and I have the hugest respect for him. He is a good football person and a proper person. There is no grey area with Mick. A spade is a spade and I have always had respect for him. Time for a recall? Giovanni Trapattoni 'He and his chief scout Dave Bowman have always been able to unearth young hungry players who want to do well. They are astute in the transfer market and Wolves are benefitting from that. `The club has changed since he was here and we are thankful we have an owner who wants the club to progress but that will take time and we will get there. `I can remember the game when Sunderland were relegated and Mick was in charge. It is a horror story for any manager and any club. It is the worst feeling in the world and no matter what words I said to him, nothing can make up for it. `It is horrible. It is the worst. I had the experience at Birmingham. You lose people in the media department, the washing department. You lose people sweeping the terraces and chefs and cooks. It hurts. `Everything is geared around the Premier League. The whole football club goes into a meltdown. One thing you have to do is get a team to bring them back and Mick managed that. Finances were tight then and if you do get in the Premier League and you haven't got much backing it is very difficult. I have been there. `He brought it back and I have always said he is one of the good lads in football. He has got time for everybody but no doubt about it at all he will want to come up here and kick our arses. We had better be ready for him.' Anton Ferdinand is likely to be left out again after another horror show in last week's defeat at Burnley and an impressive first start by Paolo Da Silva in the Carling Cup win over Birmingham City. Bruce, who also faces late decisions over George McCartney and Lee Cattermole, refused to be drawn on Ferdinand's chances. `I am not going to single out individuals,' he said. `I am looking for competition for places and in the past maybe we have not had that competition. `Da Silva and John Mensah have come to the table and given me food for thought. That is why I brought them here. They are proper defenders who captain their country. The biggest question mark is can they play in the Premier League but I think they can. 'I have got a decision to make. Against Birmingham the other night they certainly both looked terrific.'   Trapattoni staying on as Republic of Ireland boss for Euro 2012 campaignSUNDERLAND v Wolves: Black Cats could be bolstered by the return of Lee CattermoleCLICK HERE FOR ALL THE REST OF THE WEEKEND'S PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM NEWSSUNDERLAND FC


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