Football

Sunderland Vs Stoke City, Sat 6 Nov 2010

Bruce gives green light to Gyan. (©PAphotos)
Bruce gives green light to Gyan. (©PAphotos).

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce will unleash wild-card Asamoah Gyan on Stoke under orders to prove him right over his decision to sell Kenwyne Jones.

The Black Cats' #13million-plus record signing will make his first Barclays Premier League start against the Potters on the day Jones, who left Wearside for the Britannia Stadium in an #8million summer switch, returns.

Bruce decided the time had come to cash in on the Trinidad and Tobago international and invested the proceeds and a good deal more in Gyan following his superb World Cup campaign with Ghana.

The 24-year-old has had to remain patient since his arrival with his only start to date coming in the Carling Cup third round defeat by West Ham on September 21.

But in the wake of last Sunday's derby humiliation at Newcastle, Bruce has decided the time is now right to give him his head, and he is expecting fireworks.

He said: "He is something different. I am sure he will be a big hit in the Premier League.

"He is a little bit off the wall and he will do things that will frustrate you, but he's got that little bit of brilliance that can win you a match.

"We have invested a lot of money in the kid and I hope he can come in and give us the spark which the crowd will enjoy.

"It's a response to what happened last week. Our Achilles heel is we haven't scored enough, so I just think it is right, after what has happened this week, that we give the kid his chance and say, 'Here we go'.

"I think he can give everybody a spark and a lift."

Bruce will be without key defender Titus Bramble for the clash.

The 29-year-old is suspended following his sending-off in last weekend's 5-1 derby defeat at Newcastle, and his place is likely to be taken by Ghana international John Mensah.

A bout of flu is threatening to disrupt the manager's preparations, although he otherwise has no new problems with David Meyler (knee) having returned to action for the reserves in midweek and only Fraizer Campbell (also knee) on the long-term casualty list.

Meanwhile, Stoke manager Tony Pulis has a difficult decision to make over his goalkeeper for the match, but is more than happy to have the dilemma.

Regular first-choice Thomas Sorensen missed last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Everton with an elbow problem and stand-in Asmir Begovic did little wrong at Goodison Park.

Sorensen is fit to return so Pulis now has to choose between the two.

"He (Sorensen) wasn't fit for Saturday but I thought Asmir came in and did brilliantly, looking very assured," Pulis said.

"We have Thomas, who is an outstanding keeper who has done brilliantly for us, but we have a young pretender in Asmir.

"It is a case now of deciding what I do on Saturday. Do I leave Asmir in and let him get on with it because that then puts enormous pressure on Thomas to get back in the team?

"It is one of those situations as a manager you hope for."

Pulis is hopeful of having Ricardo Fuller on the bench after the striker missed the last three games with a dislocated shoulder, but midfielder Rory Delap (calf) is more of a doubt.

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