Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Relief as Injury[.]

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Relief as Injury[.]

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES HUNTER

STEVE BRUCE insists extra recovery time more than makes up for losing the feelgood factor after Sunderland's draw against Arsenal at the Emirates.

Under normal circumstances, the Black Cats boss admits he would have been frustrated at last weekend's FA Cup break forcing his side to wait a fortnight between facing the Gunners and taking on Liverpool on Sunday.

But Sunderland's lengthy injury list has meant he was actually grateful for the chance to give the likes of skipper Lee Cattermole, defender Nedum Onuoha and midfielder Bolo Zenden time to recuperate, with a view to possibly being involved this weekend.

Bruce used the opportunity to play a training ground practice match which saw Cattermole play his first football after three months out with a back complaint, Onuoha and Zenden return from calf injuries and give Fraizer Campbell and Danny Welbeck another run-out as they continue to build up match fitness following knee problems.

"If I had had everybody fit, I would have been jumping up and down, because on the back of a good result you want to play again," said Bruce.

"But the good thing for us is to see Welbeck and Campbell, Zenden and Onuoha all back in training, with Cattermole also joining in over the weekend.

"With five of our big players back in the mix, it gives the squad a lift after being down to the bare bones, which we have been for two or three months.

"I've had 13 or 14 to choose from rather than 23, and that is not a good situation to be in.

"The biggest thing I've got is competition, and when you detect fatigue for example - and let's be fair, all players get fatigued from time to time - the best weapon you can have is somebody in reserve to come in and do the job.

"It will give everybody a lift that we can see the full squad back training and healthy again just at the right time of the season. …

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