Bruce hails versatile Malbranque
Steve Bruce has hailed the performances of Steed Malbranque since the winger switched positions.
Last Updated: 17/03/10 2:30pm
Steve Bruce has hailed the performances of Steed Malbranque since the French midfielder adopted an unfamiliar left-wing role during Sunderland's injury crisis.
Malbranque helped to inspire Bruce's men to victory over Bolton and a draw against high-flying Manchester City after a run of 14 league games without a win.
Injuries have plagued the Black Cats this season and several squad members have had to play out of position, but Bruce believes the switch from the right side has benefitted the former Tottenham playmaker.
Bruce told the Sunderland Echo: "Maybe playing on the left suits him better than on the right.
"It could be his best position these days and it might be that we leave him there."
Malbranque will face competition from Andy Reid and fit-again winger Kieran Richardson, but Bruce believes he adds another dimension to the Black Cats attack.
Bruce added: "I'd already taken note of the fact that he had a good game against Spurs earlier in the season playing in that position - being a right footer playing on the left means he can cut inside just as comfortably as going out wide.
"It gives him an extra option when he's got the ball and it's something we'll look at closely.
"If you're right-footed and on the right, you usually have to beat people down the right using pace on the wing - if you cut infield, you tend to move the ball backwards.
"But if you're right-footed on the left and you cut inside, things open up for you if you've got good feet and Steed has definitely got good feet."