Striking priority for Bruce

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Sunderland manager Steve Bruce will step up his search for strikers this summer as he resigns himself to being without Fraizer Campbell for a year.

Campbell, 23, has managed just four appearances this season because of a cruciate knee ligament injury and underwent a second operation on Wednesday after breaking down again in training.

Bruce told the Sunderland Echo: "Fraizer gets operated on today (Wednesday). He will be out for 12 months."

He added: "He was out on the training ground on Monday having a bit of banter with the players. He's taken it okay because he is strong mentally.

"Thankfully, with his strength of mind, we think he will be okay. I hope he will be. If there's anyone mentally tough enough, it's him."

Campbell's trip to the operating theatre came just 48 hours after goalkeeper Craig Gordon had surgery on his injured knee which will rule him out for up to six months.

However, while Bruce has Belgium international Simon Mignolet as a ready replacement - the 23-year-old's poor day at Birmingham last weekend was in stark contrast to his recent form - strikers are currently painfully thin on the ground at the Stadium of Light.

The manager has conceded that, with hindsight, the decision to sell Darren Bent to Aston Villa when they came calling with a cheque for £24million before opting not to sign a replacement might have been an error.

Bruce said: "In January, I was looking at March and April for Fraizer to be fit, and he was making such great progress.

"It stopped me from going for another striker because I thought Fraizer would be fit in six weeks."

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

Simon Mignolet
Premier League
Steve Bruce
Aston Villa
Darren Bent
Craig Gordon
Fraizer Campbell

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