Bruce requests personal improper conduct hearing

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Sunderland boss Steve Bruce will not fight a Football Association charge of improper conduct - but will request a personal hearing to put over his side of the story.

Bruce was charged over comments made about referee Andre Marriner in the wake of his side's 4-3 Barclays Premier League defeat at Manchester City on December 19. He was given until next Wednesday to respond, and while he has decided to admit the offence, he wants to have his say.

Bruce told the Sunderland Echo: "I have accepted the charge of disrepute and I have decided not to fight it. But I have asked to go down there to give my mitigation face-to-face."

He added: "Hopefully it will be worthwhile to at least explain things from my point of view."

Bruce, who also saw Mr Marriner dismiss striker Kenwyne Jones for a push on West Ham defender Herita Ilunga in October, was incensed by the official's decision to send off defender Michael Turner for a challenge on Gareth Barry at Eastlands.

Reacting to the decision immediately after the game, the Sunderland boss described Turner's exit as an "outrage", and later pleaded for greater understanding for players.

He said: "It was a shuddering challenge, I agree, but that's why my face is the way it is. It's part and parcel of it.

"It seems to me now that it's a red card if somebody catches somebody across the face with an arm. But I keep saying, if you are jumping for a ball, it is impossible to jump without leverage with your arms.

"It's impossible - you look at a high jumper, the way he jumps, his arms are up above his head, and that's most footballers too, especially if you are running forward."

Turner's ban was increased to four games after the club appealed unsuccessfully against his punishment, and he will serve the final instalment of that on Saturday as his team-mates face leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

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