Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Recruits Must Hit Ground Running

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Recruits Must Hit Ground Running

Article excerpt

SUNDERLAND manager Steve Bruce admits he will need about half his summer signings to adapt to life on Wearside ahead of schedule, writes STUART RAYNER. David Vaughan, John O'Shea, Wes Brown, Sebastian Larsson, Keiren Westwood, Craig Gardner, Connor Wickham and Ji Dong-Won have all been re-cruited by the Black Cats, while Ahmed Elmohamady's loan has been made permanent. There could be more to come, with Sunderland thought to be exploring the possibility of taking Manchester City winger Adam Johnson on loan. Fortunately for them, all eight were signed before the players reported back for preseason, maximising the time to integrate them into the squad, though some were granted late arrivals to get their domestic lives in order or, in the case of Wickham and Larsson, rest from post-season exertions. Even so, Bruce (pictured left) says he cannot afford them all to feel their way in. "We need four or five to hit the ground running," he conceded. "That's the problem when you make big changes. The good thing is they've been with us most of pre-season so they're getting to know each other. "We need a bit of time but in the Premier League we always claim for time and we don't get it. I'm pleased with what we've done when I look at the club two years ago but I'll let people make their own conclusions. "The key is to not stand still and keep the club moving forward." In that respect, the Premier League fixture list has conspired against Sunderland. They open at Liverpool on August 13, and the first team at the Stadium of Light are Newcastle United.

They also travel to Swansea City in August - usually the worst time to take on a newly-promoted side - while Chelsea at home begins September's schedule. It is not only his new players Bruce needs to be concerned with. Having been without so many players through injury at the end of last season, plenty are more lacking in match sharpness than they should be six matches into an eight-game pre-season run. …

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