Bruce hoping for injury bonus
Steve Bruce is hoping Sunderland will have a fully-fit squad to choose from over Christmas as the Black Cats look to halt their poor run.
Last Updated: 29/11/11 1:55pm
Steve Bruce is hoping Sunderland will have a fully-fit squad to choose from over the busy festive period as the Black Cats look to put some distance between themselves and the Premier League relegation zone.
The former Manchester United defender is under immense pressure at the Stadium of Light with his side sitting just two points above the drop zone after a 2-1 home defeat by fellow strugglers Wigan on Saturday.
However, Sunderland's cause has not been helped by a catalogue of injuries and Bruce expects to have Fraizer Campbell, Connor Wickham, Titus Bramble and keeper Simon Mignolet fit to return in December.
The sight of Campbell, who has barely featured in the past 18 months after two cruciate knee injuries, is a particularly welcome sight for Bruce, who has seen his team score just 15 goals in 13 league games.
"The good thing we can report is Fraizer's come through another week of training with the first team," Bruce told The Journal.
"Touch wood, at the moment he looks remarkably good for somebody who's been out for the best part of a couple of seasons. We hope he can play in a game in the next 10 days or so and let's hope we can get him up and ready.
"That would be a massive boost to everybody, because he's been out that long, we've forgotten what a very good player we've lost. He will give the whole team and club a lift if he can get back to playing the way he was."
The anticipated return of Wickham and Mignolet will also boost Sunderland's ranks, though it remains to be seen whether Bramble can win his place back once fully fit.
The defender is available for selection after a six-week suspension, but is due in court in January. Bramble was arrested in September over sexual assault and drugs possession charges - the former of which he denies and the latter was dropped. A charge of urinating in the street was also later added.
Bruce said: "Titus had a sore knee last week and he's still working away hard at it. He's trained the last four or five days, so he needs a run now of training."