Black Cats survive without Bent

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Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has promised there will be life on Wearside after Darren Bent.

The 50-year-old was stunned, angered and disappointed to lose the man he had seen as a central pillar in his blueprint for lasting success to Aston Villa this week, despite raking in £24million for him just 18 months after laying out an initial £10m to secure his services.

Bruce said: "Make no mistake, any club is bigger than one individual and the club will always - always - march on, and that's my determination."

Both Bruce and chairman Niall Quinn have had their say over the manner of the former Tottenham man's defection and the race is on to, if not replace him, find short-term reinforcements to plug the gap he left before addressing the situation in more measured fashion during the summer.

However, whatever happens on that front over the next 10 days and beyond, Bruce is adamant that one man did not and never will make his team.

He said: "Yes, we have had a setback and it's probably our first one in the 20 months I have been here, but we will need to be bigger and stronger.

"Certainly with the money it has generated, it gives me a chance to improve the squad in the long term. But we will have to be a little bit patient for that."

Sunderland have made significant progress in their bid to bring Paris St Germain midfielder Stephane Sessegnon to the Stadium of Light, and have left the ball in the hands of Inter Milan in their pursuit of potential loan signing Sulley Muntari.

Sessegnon can play off a central striker, but has also lined up as part of a front three in France, although the Black Cats' interest in him pre-dates Bent's departure.

With Fraizer Campbell already on the long-term casualty list, the news that loan signing Danny Welbeck this week underwent surgery to repair a torn knee cartilage which will rule him out for up to eight weeks could hardly have come at a worse time.

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Darren Bent

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