Black Cats boss predicts long striker search

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Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has admitted he may have to remain patient as he attempts to recruit the strikers he wants to take the club to the next level.

The Black Cats' hopes of securing a top-10 Barclays Premier League finish this season have been severely dented by Darren Bent's unexpected departure for Aston Villa in January and the injuries which have hit Asamoah Gyan, Danny Welbeck and Fraizer Campbell.

There is little doubt where the manager's main focus will be as he attempts to strengthen his squad this summer.

Bruce believes he may have to wait for the merry-go-round to spring into action before he can make his move, saying: "We are doing our job and looking at what is available and what's not available, but there is nobody, really, not yet."

He added: "I don't think teams have made their minds up yet, especially the big ones - and it is usually the big ones who cause the knock-on effect, if they are going to change their strikers, for example.

"We will see what develops."


Both Sunderland and local rivals Newcastle have an interest in Lorient's Kevin Gameiro, although he has indicated he is looking for Champions League football, while on the domestic front, Cardiff's Jay Bothroyd has been mentioned in dispatches and they have been linked with Roman Pavlyuchenko of Tottenham.

But the Black Cats are searching far and wide and while Bruce's forays into the South and Central Americans markets during his time on Wearside have proved less successful than earlier in his career, he is considering a wide range of possibilities.

Sheer bad luck has played its part in the club's injury catalogue, but the number of serious knee problems in particular has prompted the Black Cats to analyse every facet of their training regime in an effort to identify any contributory factors.

Bruce said: "I have had a meeting with our medical people, and there are only nine people in the squad who have completed more than 60 per cent of the games, which is a horrible statistic. It has been one of those horrible years. We could say, 'We are doing this wrong', 'Is the pitch is wrong?', 'Is training wrong?', 'Is this wrong?'.

"At the end of the day, five or six of the injuries we have had are trauma injuries - Michael Turner, for instance, hits the post; David Meyler against Manchester United; Fraizer Campbell against Manchester City - all of them happen on a Saturday, which you can't do anything about."

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