Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats Boss Is Facing Difficult Decisions

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats Boss Is Facing Difficult Decisions

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

STEVE Bruce is more concerned with selling players than buying them as he looks to trim Sunderland's first-team squad back before trying to reshape it.

Although the Black Cats have been linked with a huge array of talent, Bruce knows he has to cut costs before he can persuade owner Ellis Short to bankroll another expensive recruitment drive.

Sunderland have made a bid for Schalke defender Heiko Westermann and held "positive" talks with former England centre-back Sol Campbell, but Bruce feels there are more likely to be players leaving in the short term.

Having seen Lorik Cana depart suddenly for Galatasaray earlier this week, Bruce is now turning his attention on those he would like to leave as he suggested five could be forced out, with Marton Fulop, Teemu Tainio, Nyron Nosworthy, Anton Ferdinand, George McCartney, Daryl Murphy and David Healy all vulnerable.

New Premier League rules stipulate that every club must have a first-team squad of just 25 and, while Bruce should have no problems filling that with the required eight "homegrown" players, he needs to slash numbers.

"The big problem for me is the squad is too big," said Bruce, who continues to prioritise the defence in his search for new players. "I've got to trim it, somehow I've got to do some trading on that side of things and I think there will be more going out than in over the next few weeks.

"We're all starting to move into gear now. It's normal during a World Cup year for things to be slow, but we're all having a look at what we need to do now and it will start to move again.

"I've got to take a good look at things in pre-season and see what we've got and what I feel we need. There are some big decisions that need to be made.

"If you've got a squad of 25, we've got 31 players here and that's five or six who are frozen out and they are unhappy around the place.

"It is the unpleasant side of the job. There are five who have to go and it's hard. But if they aren't in the squad week after week, they have nothing to aspire to."In the next few weeks, I think we'll see a couple moving on. …

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