Double blow for Bruce

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Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is facing a fresh selection headache after suffering a double suspension blow.

Full-backs Phil Bardsley and Kieran Richardson both picked up fifth bookings of the season in the 1-0 defeat at Fulham and will miss bottom side Portsmouth's visit to the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

With the club currently assessing the ankle injury defender Anton Ferdinand picked up at Craven Cottage, John Mensah struggling with a persistent calf problem, Lee Cattermole still fighting his way back from medial ligament damage and keeper Craig Gordon out for three months with a broken arm, Bruce finds himself with limited options once again.

Striker Kenwyne Jones returned from a three-match ban at Fulham, while Richardson, who was sent off at former club Manchester United on October 3, skipper Lorik Cana and central defender Michael Turner have also already served suspensions.

Bruce could have done without further disruption as he attempts to bounce back from successive away defeats at Wigan and Fulham, his side's fifth and sixth in eight attempts so far this season.

The Black Cats slipped to 10th place in the Barclays Premier League table as a result, and will hope to return to winning ways as Pompey and Aston Villa visit Wearside in quick succession.

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Michael Turner
Lorik Cana
Lee Cattermole
John Mensah
Anton Ferdinand
Kenwyne Jones
Premier League
Steve Bruce
Manchester United
Wigan Athletic
Aston Villa
Kieran Richardson
Craig Gordon
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