Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sunderland Defeated but Are Not Disgraced

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sunderland Defeated but Are Not Disgraced

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES HUNTER

DEFEAT at Old Trafford is no disgrace. Especially when you''ve given the champions a run for their money in their own back yard.

Sunderland couldn''t quite spoil Sir Alex Ferguson''s silver jubilee celebrations, but they came close.

However, former Manchester United man Wes Brown''s own-goal on the stroke of half-time was a gift to his ex-boss and it proved decisive as the Red Devils stuttered to victory.

For all Steve Bruce''s pride in his side''s performance, he still left Old Trafford with a major headache at the weekend.

A freak injury to pounds 8m striker Connor Wickham just 90 seconds into the match is expected to be confirmed today as a cruciate ligament problem that will rule the teenager out of action for months.

England Under 21 international Wickham left the field on a stretcher after appearing to catch his studs in the turf as he tried to charge down a Rio Ferdinand clearance.

And if he joins fellow striker Fraizer Campbell on the long-term casualty list, it will leave Sunderland with limited attacking options.

The Black Cats will be down to just three senior strikers - on-loan Arsenal frontman Nicklas Bendtner, playmaker Stephane Sessegnon and summer import Ji Dong-Won.

Sessegnon has proved effective, if not prolific, when pushed forward but Ji is still making the transition from Korean football to the demands of the Premier League.

Bruce hadn''t planned to bring in a striker in the January transfer window, but Wickham''s injury may mean that owner Ellis Short will be asked to dig deep once again.

On Saturday, Ferguson was marking the 25th anniversary of his appointment as Man U boss and before kick-off the club announced that it would be renaming the triple-decker North Stand in his honour.

However the Black Cats threatened to spoil the party. …

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