Figueroa set to return

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Wigan left-back Maynor Figueroa could make a return to the starting line-up for the visit of former manager Steve Bruce and his Sunderland side.

The Honduras international, originally signed by Bruce for Latics, is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a knee injury and was on the bench for last Sunday's 9-1 humiliation at Tottenham.

Erik Edman, who endured a torrid time at White Hart Lane, would be the man to drop out.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez does not believe the return of former Latics boss Bruce will place any more significance on an already important match for his side.

Having been embarrassed 9-1 at Tottenham last weekend, with eight goals coming in the final 39 minutes as the Latics capitulated, Martinez is looking for a response from his players.

And the occasion of Bruce's first game at the DW Stadium since leaving in the summer makes no difference to the Spaniard.

"It is such an important game for us after what happened on Sunday that it doesn't need any extra spice," said Martinez.

"Steve comes back to a club where he had great success but from our point of view it is all about our reaction and our performance.

"It has been too hurtful a week to distract any attention and it doesn't need any add ons.

"We are so focused on our reaction and performance and showing our togetherness it doesn't matter who we are playing against."

`Extra spice' was introduced earlier in the week by chairman Dave Whelan who said Bruce had to take some of the blame for the Tottenham shambles as he had left Martinez with some "dodgy signings".

Added to that is the fact Bruce has already returned to the club to lure away midfielder Lee Cattermole - who is injured for tomorrow match - and is continually linked with a January move for Wigan left-back Maynor Figueroa.

But for Martinez his sole focus this week has been on the players he has at his disposal, rebuilding their shattered confidence and preparing them for Sunderland.

"In spells I've watched the DVD about nine or 10 times," said Martinez of the Spurs result.

"There were many things we didn't do well in the second half and we need to correct that.

"We could have lost 3-1 and nothing would have happened, it would just have been an accepted defeat by the outside world.

"But because the scoreline is what it is it highlights the problems and weaknesses we had this season.

"We need to make sure that never happens again and we improve those areas. It has been very good in training, it has been the right reaction, but you can only judge that on Saturday."

Sunderland striker Darren Bent has a fighting chance of being fit for the game.

Scans have shown the England international did no lasting damage to his hamstring in last weekend's 1-0 win over Arsenal and could make the game at the DW Stadium.

Black Cats boss Bruce is also boosted by the return of Michael Turner from suspension, although that leaves him with a difficult decision after seeing Paulo da Silva and John Mensah stand firm against the Gunners.

Midfielder Lee Cattermole (medial ligament) could be as little as three weeks away from a return but keeper Craig Gordon is out for three months with a broken arm.

Bruce is happy to defend his transfer spending as he heads back to former club Wigan, but will allow his re-shaped Sunderland squad do the talking for him.

Of the 11 men who started last Saturday's 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Arsenal, three - Paulo da Silva, John Mensah and Lorik Cana - were signed by Bruce after his arrival at the Stadium of Light from Wigan during the summer, and two more, Michael Turner and Lee Cattermole, would have played had they not been suspended and injured respectively.

Cana and Cattermole in particular have been major hits on Wearside, while Paraguay international da Silva, unknown in England until he arrived at Sunderland is, like Cana, rapidly approaching cult status.

Bruce said: "In management, a big part of it is that you are judged on your signings. It's a vital part of management - the biggest part, if I am being honest.

"The one thing you want when you do sign a few players is that they can it the ground running.

"Thankfully, the vast majority we have brought into the squad have done that. They have all had a good start to their careers at Sunderland here, so we are delighted about that."

"We are trying to build something here," he added.

"It's a big club in its own right, this one, and we are trying to do things to take the club forward."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Tottenham Hotspur
Michael Turner
Lorik Cana
Paulo Da Silva
Lee Cattermole
John Mensah
Premier League
Steve Bruce
Maynor Figueroa
Wigan Athletic
Darren Bent
Craig Gordon

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